THE Constitutional Court (ConCourt) is today set to hear an application filed by three Zimbabweans, who are challenging some restrictive provisions of the Electoral Act, which prevent citizens living outside the country from participating in the country’s electoral processes.
BY CHARLES LAITON
The matter was set down for hearing after Chief Justice Luke Malaba made a determination on January 18 this year, which allowed the Diasporans direct access to the apex court to file an application demanding the right to vote.
Gabriel Shumba, Sibonile Mfumisi, who are both based in South Africa, and Darlington Nyambiya, who lives in Britain, are seeking an order compelling Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), among other respondents, to facilitate the amendment of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13) and put appropriate measures so as to enable Zimbabweans living and working abroad to participate in the country’s electoral processes.
The three are being represented by lawyers from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC).
It is the trio’s argument that the residents’ requirements imposed under the Electoral Act are unconstitutional and that the new Constitution, which provides for political rights, allows for every citizen of Zimbabwe to participate in political processes regardless of their location and thus they want the restrictive provisions of the Electoral Act struck off the country’s statutes.
Apart from Ziyambi and Zec, ZLHR and SALC also cited Zec chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba, Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo, Finance and Economic Development minister Patrick Chinamasa and Attorney-General Prince Machaya as respondents.