Local news

Valentine’s Day challenge for diaspora vote

By Staff Reporter

THE Constitutional Court (ConCourt) will on February 14 hear a challenge by three Zimbabwean nationals seeking changes to the country’s laws which forbid locals based abroad from participating in the country’s electoral processes.

The hearing is set for the Full Bench of the Concourt.

The setting down of the hearing follows the granting of an order by Chief Justice Luke Malaba (pictured), who last month gave the green light to three Zimbabweans living abroad to file a challenge to be allowed to vote.

The application was filed through the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC.

In their application, human rights lawyer Gabriel Shumba and two others are seeking an order to compel the respondents, who include the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs 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.

In the application, ZLHR and SALC 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 applicants want some restrictive provisions of the Electoral Act, which disenfranchises some Zimbabweans based on their physical positions struck off the country’s statutes.

The current Emmerson Mnangagwa administration has refused to facilitate voting for millions of economic exiles wishing to vote in their country’s elections.

The government says they should instead come back home and cast their ballots.

Gary Murambiwa
the authorGary Murambiwa