6 July 2012

Zimbabwe: By-Elections Judgment Reserved Reserves Judgment

CHIEF Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku has reserved judgment in the case in which President Robert Mugabe is challenging a Bulawayo High Court decision passed by Justice Nicholas Ndou in October last year directing him to gazette a date for by-elections in Nkayi South, Bulilima East and Lupane East.

The three constituencies fell vacant after legislators Abednico Bhebhe, Njabuliso Mguni and Norman Mpofu were dismissed from Welshman Ncube's MDC formation which resulted in them losing their parliamentary seats.

However Chidyausiku dismissed Mugabe's argument that there was no money to hold by-elections in the three constituencies.

The case was heard before Supreme Court judges Chidyausiku, Vernanda Ziyambi, Paddington Garwe, Anne-Mary Gowora and Yunus Omerjee.

According to provision 39 (2) of the Electoral Act, the president shall within a period of 14 days after he or she has been notified of this section publish a notice in the Gazette ordering a new election to fill the vacancy.

Chidyausiku said: "Why should we accept that there is no money. Is money needed for the publishing of the Gazette? What the Act requires from him (Mugabe) is very simple, to publish in the Gazette. It does not say you need to see if resources are available. You have to persuade us that in the context of this Act the word 'shall' does not have any ordinary meaning."

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