Zimbabwe: Chief Charumbira in Contempt of Court

30 September 2019

On May 9, 2018 the High Court of Zimbabwe gave an order against the President of the National Chiefs' Council, Chief Fortune Charumbira instructing him to retract statements he made on October 28 and December 20, 2017 in support of a political party in contravention of Section 281 (2) of the Constitution.

The order was secured after a successful application by the Election Resource Centre (ERC) against the President of the National Chiefs' Council, the National Chiefs' Council and the Minister of Local Government, National Housing and Public Works.

While Chief Charumbira opposed the application, the Minister of Local Government, National Housing and Public Works, through the Civil Division of the Attorney General's Office agreed to be bound by the decision of the court in a letter dated March 12, 2018.

To date, the court order stands ignored despite spirited efforts by the ERC to engage all parties involved to act in compliance with it.

The high court order reinforces constitutional provisions whose enforcement would contribute towards positively responding to calls for electoral reforms following questions raised about the 2018 harmonised elections.

Given the clear disregard for the court order by the respondents, the ERC has been left with no other choice but to file a criminal case with the police against the President of the Chiefs' Council for purposes of upholding the integrity of the court and that of electoral democracy in Zimbabwe.

While remaining open to engaging all election stakeholders, including traditional leaders in the implementation of electoral reforms, the ERC affirms its commitment to exhausting all remedies available in Zimbabwe to improve the quality of future elections.

Source: Election Resource Centre

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