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Tsvangirai Challenges Zimbabwe Election Date in Court

Supreme Court of Zimbabwe
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday joined the long list of Zimbabweans who have petitioned the Constitutional Court seeking to nullify the proclamation by President Robert Mugabe setting July 31 as the date for this year’s election.

The Constitutional Court will Wednesday hear six election-related cases whose outcomes could determine when and how this year’s harmonized elections will be conducted.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa’s hotly disputed petition to extend the election to August 14 tops the list of cases under consideration.

The six cases exclude Mr. Tsvangirai’s latest appeal. In papers filed Monday, the prime minister argues that the two-week extension sought by Mr. Chinamasa, on behalf of the government, is insufficient to allow key reforms to be implemented ahead of the polls.

Mr. Tsvangirai also wants the court to direct President Mugabe and Chinamasa to ensure that a bill to change some sections of the Electoral Amendment Act, as agreed in cabinet on June 11, is presented to parliament for debate not later than June 28.
Mr. Tsvangirai’s lawyer Selby Hwacha says Mr. Mugabe’s actions violated the constitution.

But attorney Joseph Mandizha, representing a Harare activist, Jelous Mawarire, of the Centre for Election Democracy in Southern Africa, who successfully petitioned the Constitutional Court to compel Mr. Mugabe to announce an election date, has vowed to oppose Mr. Tsvangirai and others supporting an election delay.