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No Ruling Yet on Zimbabwe ConCourt Diaspora Vote Hearing

FILE: Chief Justice Luke Malaba.

The Constitutional Court today reserved judgement 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.

Belinda Chinowawa, who is representing the applicants and is affiliated to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), told VOA Zimbabwe Service that the full bench will inform them of the next court date.

The hearing of the application follows the granting of an order by Chief Justice Luke Malaba, who in January this year, gave the green light to three Zimbabweans living outside the country to file the application on the right to vote.

In their application, which was filed by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), human rights lawyer Gabriel Shumba and two other applicants, 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.