Jittery Mwonzora seeks to block by-elections

Source: Jittery Mwonzora seeks to block by-elections | Newsday (News)

UNDER-FIRE MDC Alliance leader Douglas Mwonzora has through his legal adviser Tapera Sengweni, filed an urgent chamber application at the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) seeking nullification of the by-elections slated for March 26.

Sengweni argued that President Emmerson Mnangagwa failed to proclaim dates for the by-elections within the timeframe set by the Constitution, therefore, the proclamations he made on December 24, 2021 and January 27, 2022 should be declared null and void.

He further asserts that Zimbabwe cannot afford costs associated with holding by-elections this month, but should wait for general elections due next year.

Most of the 28 parliamentary and 121 council seats fell vacant after the MDC-T then led by Mwonzora recalled MDC Alliance representatives for supporting a faction led by Nelson Chamisa.

In the court application, Sengweni, who is a deregistered lawyer, cited Mnangagwa and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) as respondents.

He jointly made the application with Vinnah Mbele, Adfy Vushoma and Fanuel Tsvanhu.

“This is an application for a determination that the first respondent (Mnangagwa) failed to call for by-elections for all the 28 National Assembly and council seats within the time stipulated by the Constitution, and, therefore, an order declaring that the two purported proclamations above are unconstitutional, therefore, null and void.

“The first respondent failed or refused, neglected or absconded from proclaiming dates for the by-elections. The time specified by the Constitution came and went.

“The first respondent did not proclaim the by-elections as mandated.

“As a citizen of this country, I believe in the full and correct interpretation and application of the Constitution — in other words I have an unalienable right to the correct and timeous interpretation and effect of the Constitution,” the applicants submitted.

“In any event, there is really no need for by-elections now. This country is due to hold its harmonised elections in the next 16 months.

“It is prudent to wait for that date. As a small economy, Zimbabwe has financial challenges that are affecting the greater majority of its population.

“The government is struggling to pay its employees a living wage. It is not prudent to drag the country into another plebiscite whose outcome does not change the numerical configuration of Parliament in any way,” the applicants submitted.

Analysts yesterday said Mwonzora had realised that he would not win the by-elections, hence his last-minute bid to defer the process.

Mwonzora yesterday, however, distanced himself from the court application.

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