ConCourt Postpones Diaspora Vote Challenge Hearing

The Constitutional Court (ConCourt) has postponed the hearing of the diaspora vote challenge to 14 March 2018. The hearing was initially set for today after Chief Justice Luke Malaba made a determination on January 18 this year, which allowed the complainants direct access to the ConCourt to file an application demanding the right to vote.

Zimbabwe’s apex court was set to hear an application filed by three Zimbabweans, Gabriel Shumba, Sibonile Mfumisi, who are both based in South Africa, and Darlington Nyambiya, who lives in Britain, who are challenging some restrictive provisions of the Electoral Act, which prevent citizens living outside the country from voting. The trio who are represented by lawyers from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), are seeking an order compelling Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), Zec chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba, Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo, Finance and Economic Development minister Patrick Chinamasa and Attorney-General Prince Machaya, 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 be able to vote.

They argue that the residents’ requirements imposed under the Electoral Act are unconstitutional considering that the Constitution of Zimbabwe which provides for political rights, allows for every citizen of Zimbabwe to participate in political processes regardless of their location.

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