BY EVANS MATHANDA
INDEPENDENT electoral watchdog, Election Resource Centre, has questioned President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)’s recent move to reopen the nomination courts for six constituencies that had been set aside as uncontested, without seeking judicial guidance.
Zec reopened the nomination process following a High Court order cancelling an earlier ruling stopping by-elections in six constituencies held by former People’s Democratic Party members.
High Court judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi had ruled that the recall of Tendai Biti and five others was illegal, and effectively stopped by-elections in those constituencies.
But another High Court judge Justice Never Katiyo later directed Zec to reopen nominations in Harare East, Kambuzuma, Mbizo, Mutasa South, Nkulumane and Pumula constituencies.
ERC said Mnangagwa and Zec were supposed to seek judicial guidance before reopening the nomination courts following the contradictory rulings which came within 24 hours of each other.
“The decision taken by the President and the commission following the contradictory court orders undermines the credibility and integrity of the Judiciary and election dispute resolution mechanisms; potentially subverts the constitutional rights of citizens and has also the potential to unravel the rules and principles aimed at guiding Zimbabwe’s democracy, especially the principle that elections should be guided by procedural certainty and outcome uncertainty.”
Zec spokesperson Joice Kazembe said the commission stood guided by the last order directing the electoral body to reopen nominations.