Tuesday, 29 May 2018

CHIEF JUSTICE QUASHES ELECTION CHALLENGE

CHIEF Justice Luke Malaba has dismissed the urgent application by “briefcase parties” represented by Zimbabwe Development Party (ZDP) leader Kisnoti Mukwazhe to bar President Emmerson Mnangagwa from promulgating election dates without amending the Political Parties Finance Act.

The applicants, ZDP and Voice of the People, had taken Mnangagwa, Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Priscilla Chigumba to the Constitutional Court, arguing that conducting elections under the prevailing situation would amount to creating an unfair electoral environment.

In their application, the parties sought an order to bar Mnangagwa from proclaiming election dates before the Act was repealed.

They argued that Mudenda must facilitate the repealing of the Political Parties Finance Act and that Zec must not conduct the elections under the current Act. In his judgment, Malaba dismissed the urgent application, saying the parties were supposed to first seek leave to approach the court directly with their main application. He said the applicants didn’t attempt to argue that their case was a matter over which leave to approach the court directly was not required. He also noted that the applicants have not shown that they are eligible to get the financial support on the basis of the Act. According to the Act, the entitlement only accrues after an election and not before.

He also said it was not enough for the parties to claim their existence and that they participated in the 2013 elections yet they failed to garner the required 5% for a party to qualify for the funding.
Malaba said entitlement to payment of the money from the public funds appropriated for the purpose of funding political parties was not a fundamental right of a political party. Newsday

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