PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has found himself in an embarrassing gaffe as it emerged the date that he set for the sitting of the electoral nomination court in Statutory Instrument 86 of 2013, does not exist on this year’s calendar.
REPORT BY CHARLES LAITON
The issue was yesterday raised by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in an application filed at the Constitutional Court (Concourt) seeking an extension of the July 31 election date. Tsvangirai has accused Mugabe of not consulting him on matters concerning the Global Political Agreement (GPA) leading to the date boob.
“As stated earlier in this affidavit, the proclamation which followed the Presidential Regulations amending the Electoral Act also has serious legal challenges.
Not only is the proclamation void or voidable because it was issued without consulting Cabinet and I, as the Prime Minister, in contravention of the Constitution, but also because even on the face of it, it is incurably defective,” Tsvangirai said. “The proclamation is defective because it does not state the day or days on which the nomination court for President, the National Assembly and council will be held. Thursday the 28th of June is not a date which appears in any calendar,” the PM added.
Tsvangirai further said members of the public and him included, as both a citizen and a minister, had legitimate, substantive and procedural expectations that Mugabe should have consulted Cabinet and otherwise acted fairly before he made the decision proclaiming a date for the elections and for the sitting of nomination courts.
“I respectively believe that people were generally taken by surprise by the ruling of this honourable court in the (Jealousy) Mawarire case on May 31 2013. As the honourable court noted, two or more interpretations were possible for Section 58(1) in the old Constitution until its ruling,” Tsvangirai said.
“This Honourable Court had authority to decide between the two interpretations and did so. However, it may be appreciated that until this, it is my humble view that most people and bodies including the first respondent (Mugabe) were not prepared for an earlier deadline,” he added. Turning to the issue of an application seeking extension of the election dates within two weeks by Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, Tsvangirai said the period was inadequate.
“It is my humble view and request that not only is an extension justified in the circumstances, but also that the two-week extension sought by second applicant (Chinamasa) in case CCZ35 13, is inadequate to deal properly with the issue,” the PM added.