STAFF WRITER 21 November 2017
HARARE – The High Court postponed a hearing to tomorrow an application
seeking an order compelling the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to
register the so-called “aliens” as prospective voters for the 2018 general
elections during the on-going biometric voter registration exercise after
the electoral body asked for more time to prepare its stance, lawyers
involved in the case said.
High Court Judge Justice Nyaradzo Munangati-Manongwa on Friday postponed
to Wednesday the hearing of the urgent chamber application.
The hearing will address a broad legal challenge filed by a Harare
resident 57-year-old Sarah Kachingwe, who resides in Epworth and two
factions of the MDC opposition political parties, which largely seeks an
order allowing some individuals classified as “aliens” to register to vote
in the 2018 general elections without any impediment or additional
requirement other than requirements relating to all people.
In petitioning the High Court, Kachingwe -who is a Zimbabwean citizen by
birth and whose identification card is endorsed “alien” because her
deceased father Chemunyaya Kachingwe hailed from Malawi while her mother
Catherine Jaure is a Zimbabwean by birth – argued that she was not allowed
by Zec officials to register as a prospective voter because she had an
identification card endorsed “alien”.
The Zec officials who were conducting the biometric voter registration
exercise at Makomo in Epworth referred her to the Registrar General (RG)s
Office for “regularisation” of her identification card.
Kachingwe said officials from the RG’s Office demanded that she pays a
staggering $5 000 to have her identification card regularised, an amount
which she could not afford to pay as she is not gainfully employed.
Kachingwe, together with the two opposition political parties, are
represented by Denford Halimani of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. They
are arguing that Zec’s actions are illegal and her rights as a Zimbabwean
citizen had been infringed. She wants the High Court to assert her
fundamental rights as she is entitled to all rights, benefits and
privileges of being a Zimbabwean.
The Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC and the smaller MDC led by Welshman Ncube
also argued that a citizen who is able to produce an identification card
showing district of origin, and a birth certificate confirming that such a
citizen was born in Zimbabwe to parents or one whom was born in the
country or from the Sadc region and can provide proof of residence should
by operation of the law be freely allowed to register to vote as they
would have sufficiently established their qualification to vote by virtue
of proving that they were Zimbabwean by birth.
The two MDC political parties argued that any additional requirement upon
the so-called aliens would be discriminatory in the sense that they would
be subjected to a condition that other ordinary Zimbabweans are not being
The opposition political parties charged that the present situation
whereby people born in Zimbabwe to parents of foreign origin in Sadc are
required to renounce their entitlement to foreign citizenship before being
issued with a fresh identification card by the RG’s Office is unlawful as
it is in contravention of Section 56 of the Constitution which prohibits
discrimination and promotes equality.
Justice Munangati-Manongwa will now preside over the hearing of the urgent
chamber application tomorrow after postponing the matter to allow the Zec
legal practitioners to further consult with theelections management body
about consenting to the order sought.