Our hands are tied, says Makarau

via Our hands are tied, says Makarau | The Herald 19 December 2014 by Daniel Nemukuyu

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Justice Rita Makarau says the commission cannot take over the responsibility of voter registration, and maintaining registers from the Registrar-General’s Office in the absence of an enabling Act of Parliament. Responding to an application by ZAPU leader Dr Dumiso Dabengwa seeking an order compelling ZEC to immediately take over duties of voter registration and maintaining voters’ rolls and registers in line with the new Constitution, Justice Makarau said the enabling law was not yet in place.

The judge agreed with Dr Dabengwa’s argument that in terms of Section 239(c) of the new Constitution, ZEC has the responsibility of all the stated electoral duties but disputed further claims that the commission was sleeping on duty.

“I do not dispute the arguments made in this regard as they reflect the correct position as enunciated in Section 239 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, paragraph (c), (d) and (e) thereof.

“I respectfully disagree, however, with the view taken by the applicants that the first respondent (ZEC) has failed and or neglected to perform the duties so entrusted to it by the Constitution…

“In terms of Section 157 (1) of the Constitution, however, an Act of Parliament must provide for the conduct of elections and referendums and make particular provisions for the registration of voters and requirements for registration on particular voters’ rolls.

“I respectively submit that no such law as envisioned by the Constitution, has been put in place.

“I, therefore, contend that there is no law regulating the registration of voters and requirements for registration on particular voters’ rolls as we speak,” said Justice Makarau.

Nyika, Kanengoni and Partners law firm is representing ZEC while the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights is acting for Dr Dabengwa.

Dr Dabengwa wants ZEC to comply with the law by taking over from the Registrar-General’s Office duties like registering voters, compiling its own voters’ rolls, keeping and maintaining voters’ rolls and ensuring that the public has access to the voters’ roll as provided for in terms of the Constitution.

He also seeks an order for ZEC to provide the interested public with soft or hard copies of the voters’ roll on request.

It is Dr Dabengwa’s argument that in the 2013 election, Section 6(2) of Part 3 of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution gave the Registrar of Voters authority to perform some of the election duties under the supervision of ZEC, but that future elections should now be conducted in terms of Section 239(c) of the new Constitution.

Since August 10 last year when Section 239(c) became operative, Cde Dabengwa argues, ZEC has not yet complied with the law.

Dr Dabengwa’s application filed under Electoral Court Number 01/14, is yet to be set down for hearing.


  • comment-avatar
    gwabu 6 years ago

    very interesting and funny.

    so what is mdc doing about this. Nothing. And they expect to win the next elections. were it not for dabengwa we didn’t know.
    mdc-t sleeping on the job.

  • comment-avatar

    its called hiding behind a finger – very useful for people without the requisite courage – handitika Justice Makarau?

  • comment-avatar
    Madagara Kasulumani 6 years ago

    ndabvumirana newe Gwabu. MDC and other opposition parties should be putting pressure for topical issues to be addressed. very soon they will be contesting by-elections under the same uneven electoral play ground. Handizvinzwisisi. Pamberi na Dabengwa.

  • comment-avatar

    As long as ZANU is in power, talk of “constitution this and the law this”, will remain just that, talk.

  • comment-avatar
    wensil 6 years ago

    The opposition should be more concerned about these constitutional changes that Zanu PF is dragging its feet on. As long as the changes are not favourable to Zanu PF they will delay as long as its possible.

  • comment-avatar
    Chiwoniso D 6 years ago

    Surely our opposition parties in parliament have gone to bed with zpf. We once said Tsvangirai and his Secretary for elections must start making noise now abt all outstanding electral issues. But they are sleeping waiting for 11th hour.