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Zimbabwe Supreme Court Reserves Judgment In Mugabe By-Election Challenge

The Zimbabwe Supreme Court reserved judgment Tuesday in an appeal by President Robert Mugabe against a High Court decision directing him to gazette a date for by-elections in three parliamentary constituencies.

Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nicholas Ndou last October ordered Mr. Mugabe to ensure by-elections for Nkayi South, Bulilima East and Lupane East were conducted as they were constitutionally long overdue.

Mugabe was taken to court by three former legislators, Abednico Bhebhe, Njabuliso Mguni and Norman Mpofu, who lost their seats after being fired from the MDC formation led by Industry Minister Welshman Ncube.

But the president, through Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa, argued in his defense that the country has more than three vacant constituencies awaiting by-elections.

The exercise, he argued, required US$38 million, adding government had no such money. At least 29 House of Assembly and Senate constituencies have no representation due mainly to deaths.

Attorney Ndabezihle Mazibuko of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights represented the three litigants. He told VOA that he hopes judgment will be delivered expeditiously.

The State was represented by Advocate Ray Goba.