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Court Allows Uniformed Forces to Cast Late Special Votes

Supreme Court of Zimbabwe
The Constitutional Court ruled Friday that members of the uniformed forces who failed to cast their votes in a special election last week, should be allowed to vote next Wednesday.

The court hearing followed an appeal by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to allow the 26,160 members of the uniformed forces who, the authority said, had been disenfranchised after failing to vote during the special election.

In passing his judgment, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku said ZEC must take all necessary steps to ensure that its office and officers allow those who failed to cast their ballots, to do so on election day.

Over 69,000 voters had applied to participate in the special election. The Electoral Act stipulates that those who missed the special election cannot be allowed to cast their vote at any other time.

In another case heard on the same day, the Constitutional Court dismissed an application by the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) seeking to have media practitioners to vote early before the July 31 election date.

ZUJ argued that journalists will be deployed outside their respective voting areas and may not be able to vote Wednesday.

Shelby Hwacha, a lawyer representing the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai, said the move is welcome as those who failed to vote should be allowed to exercise their democratic rights.

Meanwhile, cases of political violence and intimidation in Zimbabwe are on the rise as the country inches closer to a general election to be held next Wednesday.

Such cases have been reported in Midlands, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Matabeleland North and South, Manicaland and other regions.

MDC-T’s candidate for Mberengwa North constituency, Takavafira Zhou, said he was attacked Thursday by more than 50 Zanu PF youth militia under the leadership of a man only identified as Zimi.

In Mashonaland Central, MDC-T provincial chairman Godfrey Chimombe, said MDC-T supporters were being harassed by Zanu PF activists and war veterans.

And MDC-T candidate for Uzumba in Mashonaland East, Peckson Kazingizi, said war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda last week Wednesday addressed a rally at Manyika Business Centre where he threatened villagers with unspecified severe action if they did not vote for Zanu PF.