Setback as ConCourt Dismisses Diaspora Vote Bid

THE Constitutional Court on Wednesday 30 May 2018 dealt a body blow to a bid by three Zimbabweans, who sought to be allowed to participate in the country’s electoral processes through exercising their right to vote in elections after dismissing their application challenging some restrictive
provisions of the Electoral Act.

The trio led by human rights lawyer Gabriel Shumba and two other applicants, who were represented by lawyers from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), had petitioned the apex court late last year seeking an order compelling the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Hon. Ziyambi Ziyambi and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) among other respondents, 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 participate in the country’s electoral processes.

But in a judgment read out by Deputy Chief Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza, the Full Bench of the ConCourt dismissed the trio’s petition after ruling that the “application cannot succeed”.

In court, Shumba and his colleagues had argued that the residents’ requirements imposed under the Electoral Act are unconstitutional and that the new Constitution, which provides for political rights allows for every citizen of Zimbabwe to participate in political processes, wherever they are.

The trio wanted some restrictive provisions of the Electoral Act, which disenfranchises some Zimbabweans based on their physical positions, to be struck off the country’s statutes.

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