The High Court Wednesday cancelled Monday’s ruling stopping by-elections in six constituencies that allowed People’s Democratic Party (PDP) members to bounce back to Parliament without being subjected to an election.
High Court judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi on Tuesday ruled that the recall of Tendai Biti (Harare East), Settlement Chikwinya (Mbizo), Willias Madzimure (Kambuzuma), Regai Tsunga (Mutasa South), Kucaca Ivumile Phulu (Nkulumane) and Sichelesile Mahlangu (Pumula) was illegal.
But another High Court judge Justice Never Katiyo Wednesday issued a provisional order directing the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to reopen nominations for the six constituencies.
Justice Katiyo made the order after Benjamin Rukanda, who initiated the recall of the six legislators, filed an urgent chamber application challenging Justice Chitapi’s ruling. Justice Katiyo’s order read in part:
The first respondent (ZEC) be and is hereby ordered to reopen the nomination court for the nomination of candidates to fill the vacancies for the constituencies….
The cancellation of the nomination court process for the constituencies … by ZEC be and is hereby declared null and void for lack of legality.
ZEC yesterday said implementing the order after the closure of the nomination court was a legal impossibility. ZEC said in a statement:
The court order was served at 1655hrs after the nomination courts had closed and it became a legal impossibility to implement. Nomination courts close at 1600hrs in terms of the law. Zec will stand guided on the way forward by legal instruments/orders to be issued in terms of the law.
PDP official Jacob Mafume described the latest setback as shocking there has never been a High Court judge who has cancelled another judge’s order. He added:
The ordinary thing is for people to appeal. We are surprised and in awe to whatever this development is. The same court cannot give contrasting orders within hours of itself.
Justice Chitapi Tuesday ordered the reinstatement of Biti, the MP for Harare East; William Madzimure of Kambuzuma; Chikwinya of Mbizvo; Kucaca Ivumile Phulu of Nkulumane; Sichelesile Mahlangu of Pumula and Regai Tsunga of Mutasa South who had been expelled based on a 2020 Supreme Court ruling.