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Constitutional Crisis Looms as Court Shifts Election Date Case

  • Blessing  Zulu

Supreme Court of Zimbabwe

Supreme Court of Zimbabwe

Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku has deferred to next week the hearing of the challenges to President Robert Mugabe’s July 31 election proclamation date.
The challenges are led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Industry Minister Welshman Ncube.

The delay has been described as a blow to Mr. Tsvangirai by some legal experts who say some of the prime minister’s arguments that parliament align laws such as the Public Order and Security Act, security and media laws and the Electoral Act before close of business has been overtaken by events.

The Southern African Development Community had also urged Zimbabwe to appeal for an extension of the election date to allow for reforms.

The Constitutional Court also told lawyers representing rival political parties to combine four separate applications over the timing of the country’s elections and meet Justice Chidyausiku in chambers Tuesday.

This followed the filing of separate applications by MDC leaders, Mr. Tsvangirai and Professor Ncube, over the same issue. Other citizens Nixon Nyikadzino and Mariah Phiri had also filed separate applications.

Mr. Tsvangirai’s lawyer advocate Lewis Uriri said if the court rules in their favour, there might be a constitutional crisis as parliament will not be in session.Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku has deferred to next week the hearing of the challenges to President Robert Mugabe’s July 31 election proclamation date.

The challenges are led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Industry Minister Welshman Ncube.

The delay has been described as a blow to Mr. Tsvangirai by some legal experts who say some of the prime minister’s arguments that parliament align laws such as the Public Order and Security Act, security and media laws and the Electoral Act before close of business has been overtaken by events.

The Southern African Development Community had also urged Zimbabwe to appeal for an extension of the election date to allow for reforms.

The Constitutional Court also told lawyers representing rival political parties to combine four separate applications over the timing of the country’s elections and meet Justice Chidyausiku in chambers Tuesday.

This followed the filing of separate applications by MDC leaders, Mr. Tsvangirai and Professor Ncube, over the same issue. Other citizens Nixon Nyikadzino and Mariah Phiri had also filed separate applications.

Advocate Fredrick Gijima who is representing Chinamasa said all parties agreed that it was not feasible for them and the court to deal with the matter this week.

Mr. Tsvangirai’s lawyer advocate Lewis Uriri said if the court rules in their favour, there might be a constitutional crisis as parliament will not be in session.


On the 31st of May 2013, the Constitutional Court ruled that the country must hold elections by not later than the 31st of July.

Mr Mugabe then issued a proclamation under Statutory Instrument 86 of 2013, setting election dates on 31 July.

Other parties and the regional body, the Southern African Development Community however disagreed and appealed to the same court.
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