Monday, 7 September 2020

ZEC : ONLY A COURT ORDER CAN STOP US


THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has said only the court can stop it from filling vacant positions in the Legislature caused by deaths and recalls on MDC Alliance MPs by the Thokozani Khupe-led MDC-T.

Zec has already advertised to replace proportional representation MPs re-called by the Khupe MDC-T faction after a March 30 Supreme Court ruling that nullified Nelson Chamisa's leadership of the MDC Alliance.

Responding to concerns by Zimba-bwe Elections Support Network (Zesn), which said it was important for Zec to wait until ongoing court challenges were put to rest, the electoral board said it would go ahead as long as they had not been stopped.

Zesn chairperson Andrew Makoni said there were two conflicting judgments issued by the High Court and, therefore, Zec should withhold filling the posts until all outstanding court cases were concluded.

"This is coming at a time conflicting decisions have been handed down by different judges of the High court," Makoni said.

"In one case, a High Court judge grant-ed a provisional order interdicting the re-placement of some recalled proportion-al representation Members of Parliament and in another, a judge of the High Court dismissed the urgent application." 

These matters have both been appealed, and Zesn believes it would only make fair administrative justice for an impartial Zec to wait for final verdicts.

"In both instances, we understand that the matters have been taken on appeal. In our view, it would have been prudent to await the finalisation of the appeals in the Supreme Court before initiating the replacement process," Makoni said.

In response, Zec, however, said it was acting in line with the law and would be filling the 15 vacant seats, which would see, Khupe, the MDC-T acting president, bounce back into Parliament to take the role of the leader of the opposition.

"The Commission has no discretion as whether the process should or should not commence. Once a notice is given and received by Zec, as prescribed in section 39(3) of the Electoral Act, the process ... must be carried out, lest ZEC is in breach of the law," chief elections officer Utoile Silaigwana said.

The MDC Alliance has already lodged an objection to the process, saying the MDC-T has no right to replace or even recall members elected under its name, banner and logo.

Party secretary-general Chalton Hwende wrote to Zec opposing the proposal to fill the vacant posts by names forwarded by MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora. Newsday

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