Concourt delivers judgement in diaspora vote challenge

THE Constitutional Court (ConCourt) will on Wednesday 30 May 2018 hand down its judgment on an application filed by three Zimbabweans challenging some restrictive provisions of the Electoral Act, which prevent Zimbabwean citizens living outside the country from participating in the country’s electoral processes.

The ConCourt will deliver the judgment at 09:30 am at Mashonganyika Building in Harare.
The Full Bench of the ConCourt led by Deputy Chief Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza had reserved
judgment on Wednesday 14 March 2018 after hearing arguments from the applicants’ lawyer Advocate
Thabani Mpofu instructed by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and the Southern Africa
Litigation Centre (SALC) and from some lawyers representing the respondents.

In his arguments, Advocate Mpofu asked the ConCourt to grant an order sought by the three applicants
led by human rights lawyer Gabriel Shumba and two other applicants 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.

Advocate Mpofu 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.

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