Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
Government has scoffed at a constitutional application filed by MDC-T recently seeking to bar the March 27 by-elections for Mt Darwin West and Chirumanzu-Zibagwe constituencies saying the country’s legal framework allowed for polls to be held while alignment of the electoral laws with the constitution was being addressed.
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs secretary Mrs Virginia Mabhiza responded to the application on behalf of President Mugabe and Justice Minister VP Mnangagwa dismissing the alleged inconsistencies as petty and that they cannot stop a legitimate and democratic process.
The Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC in January this year filed a Constitutional Court application seeking to stop the by-elections and any other polls before the alignment of the Electoral Act with the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
The political party argued that ZEC, in terms of the new Constitution, was mandated to register voters, compile voters’ rolls and registers, ensure the proper custody and maintenance of voters’ rolls and registers, among others, but that it had not yet assumed such duties.
It further argued that failure by ZEC to commence voter registration by January 15, 2015, was a violation of Section 17A of the Constitution.
The party argued that the announcement by ZEC on January 24 this year that it was embarking on a voter registration and inspection of voters’ roll did not cure the “fatally defective status” of the current electoral environment.
Mrs Mabhiza said the holding of elections while electoral reforms were underway was permissible. “The current legislative framework is permissible for elections to be held while alignment of the electoral laws is being addressed.
“Alignment of laws with the Constitution is an on-going process. The electoral laws will be aligned with the Constitution through the General Laws Amendment Bill, which is due to be tabled before Parliament soon,” reads the affidavit.