High Court to Rule On Alien Vote

THE High Court will on Wednesday 22 November 2017 be seized with two matters filed by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) seeking orders compelling the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to register Zimbabweans considered “aliens” as prospective voters for the 2018 general elections and to interdict President Robert Mugabe and the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) from instituting any processes for the appointment of a Prosecutor General (PG) to replace Advocate Ray Goba.

Justice Nyaradzo Munangati-Manongwa will preside over the hearing of an urgent chamber application filed by Sarah Kachingwe, a Harare resident and two opposition political parties seeking an order compelling the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to register the so-called “aliens” as prospective voters for the 2018 general elections during the on-going biometric voter registration exercise.

The 57 year-old Kachingwe, who is represented by Denford Halimani of ZLHR, teamed up with the MDC-T and the MDC-N political parties to file an urgent chamber application on Monday 13 November 2017 seeking an order allowing some individuals classified as “aliens” to register to vote in the 2018 general elections without any impediment or additional requirement other than requirements relating to all people.

Kachingwe, who is a Zimbabwean citizen by birth and whose identification card is endorsed “alien” because her deceased father hailed from Malawi while her mother is a Zimbabwean by birth, argued that she was not allowed by some ZEC officials to register as a prospective voter because her identification card was endorsed “alien” and was referred to the Registrar General (RG)s Office for “regularisation” of her identification card.

On the same Wednesday, High Court Judge Justice Priscilla Chigumba will also preside over the hearing of an urgent chamber application filed by ZLHR seeking an order to interdict President Mugabe and the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) from instituting any processes for the appointment of a Prosecutor General (PG) to replace Advocate Ray Goba.

President Mugabe on Friday 27 October 2017 reversed the appointment of Advocate Goba as the country’s PG through an Extraordinary Government Gazette, General Notice 642 of 2017, issued and signed by Misheck Sibanda, the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet on Friday 27 October 2017. This notice repealed the General Notice 493 of 2017 issued through an Extraordinary Government Gazette.

But in an urgent chamber application filed on Wednesday 01 November 2017 and which will be heard on Wednesday 22 November 2017, ZLHR, which has instructed Advocate Eric Matinenga to argue the matter on its behalf, wants the High Court to interdict President Mugabe and the JSC from removing or in any other way interfere with Advocate Goba’s constitutional appointment without following the removal from office procedures provided for in Section (259)(7) of the Constitution.

In a founding affidavit, ZLHR Executive Director Roselyn Hanzi, argued that the organisation has a direct and substantial interest in the obedience and observance of the provisions of the Constitution by all individuals and organs bound by it and that the Constitution is the supreme law of Zimbabwe and every conduct inconsistent with it is invalid to the extent of the inconsistency.

The human rights organisation contended that the PG can only be removed from office by President Mugabe upon the advice of a tribunal set up in terms of section 187 of the Constitution and that the Constitution does not provide another different route that can be followed to remove the PG from office.

Hanzi argued that the purported reversal of Advocate Goba’s appointment through a government gazette is unlawful, ultra vires provisions of the Constitution in addition to being in breach of provisions of the Administrative Justice Act (Chapter 10:28).

ZLHR wants the High Court to issue an order declaring that the government gazette extraordinary notice number 642 of 2017 published on Friday 27 October 2017 purporting to repeal government gazette number 493 of 2017 invalid and of no legal force and effect.

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