Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza, sitting with eight other judges of the Constitutional Court, on Wednesday reserved judgment on whether or not Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora should be allowed to vote in this year’s harmonised elections.
Zimbabwean lawyer Gabriel Shumba and Sibonile Mfumisi who are both based in South Africa, and United Kingdom-based Mr Darlington Nyambiya wanted the Constitutional Court to allow them to cast their ballot from their respective bases. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights-instructed Advocate Thabani Mpofu argued the matter on behalf of the trio. Mpofu argued that Section 67 (3) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that every Zimbabwean citizen of at least 18 years of age has the right to vote in any election or referendum.
Mrs Vernanda Munyoro who represented the Attorney General’s Office argued that one can only vote in the constituencies they live in as spelt out in the Electoral Act and postal ballot is only conducted in special cases to afford those who are outside the country on Government duty the right to vote. She said the trio cannot be allowed to vote from outside the country because they were not on national duty. Mrs Munyoro advised the trio to apply for the amendment of the Constitution to accommodate their demands to which Advocate Mpofu said: “There is no need for the Constitution to be amended, there is actually need for the State to amend its attitude.”