Mugabe taken to court over polls

LOBBY group, Centre for Elections and Democracy in Southern Africa (CEDSA) has filed an urgent Supreme Court application seeking an order compelling President Robert Mugabe and his coalition government partners to immediately proclaim dates for the crucial forthcoming harmonised elections.

Report by Everson Mushava

The election lobby group said the delay by principals in proclaiming election dates was disenfranchising the electorate and “causing unnecessary confusion when it was a legal fact that Parliament would be dissolved on June 29”.

This becomes the second lawsuit filed against Mugabe over the same issue after three former MDC MPs from Matabeleland filed an application a few weeks ago seeking to compel the president to proclaim dates for by-elections in three constituencies in the region.

In an application filed at the Supreme Court yesterday, CEDSA executive director Jelous Mawarire claimed there was no reason for the principals to withhold the date for the next elections yet people knew that the country was due for elections later this year.

Mawarire cited Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara and MDC leader Welshman Ncube as first, second, third and fourth respondents respectively, while Attorney-General Johannes Tomana is the fifth respondent.

“The utterances of the principals to the GPA, and with respect, the inaction of the first respondent has resulted in extreme confusion and the looming threat that the constitution and its institutions has become the subject of idle conjecture and political backdoor scheming,” Mawarire said.

“Whilst this dust of confusion prevails, there is every possibility that come June 29, there will be no parliament and local authorities and Zimbabwe will be run at the pleasure of the three Honourable gentlemen cited herein who signed the GPA.”

Mawarire added: “My fear of a constitutional crisis that would eventuate in a rule by decree or rule by agreement without a Parliament and local government authorities as required by the law are supported by heavy media publicity and reckless utterances by some cited herein.”

He said only the Supreme Court could save the country from the impending constitutional crisis likely to be caused by further delays.

“The fact that the first, second, third and fourth respondent cannot come out clearly on when the elections should be help, when evidently this is clear, shows the need for this Hounourable court to clarify the position for the public benefit and do so as a matter of urgency,” he added.

The group is represented by Harare law firm Mandizha Legal Practitioners.

Mugabe is currently locked in a bitter wrangle with Tsvangirai and Ncube over proclamation of election dates, with the Zanu PF leader saying elections should be held by June 29 when Parliament’s lifespan ends while the MDC formations want them delayed until around October to allow for implementation of key electoral reforms.

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