High Court hears Biti’s demand for transparent acquisition of election materials as court reserves judgment on ZEC’s clandestine constituency shift challenge

HIGH Court Judge Justice Pisirayi Kwenda will on Wednesday 13 June 2018 preside over the hearing of an application filed by People’s Democratic Party (PDP) seeking the speedy determination of a court application in which the opposition political party wants the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to procure some election materials through an open tender process.

The PDB and its party leaders Tendai Biti and Jacob Mafume had on 21 May 2018 filed an ordinary court application seeking to compel ZEC Chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba and the elections management body to comply with the provisions of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Act (Chapter 22:23) with respect to the procurement of ballot papers for the 2018 harmonised elections.

But in their urgent chamber application filed on Friday 08 June 2018 by Jeremiah Bamu of Mbidzo, Muchadehama and Makoni Legal Practitioners in a case supported by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Biti and his PDP party now want the High Court to set down and make a determination on their ordinary application before 22 June 2018.

Biti and his PDP party argued that the proclamation of election dates, which was done by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on 30 May 2018, where he set Monday 30 July 2018 as the election date, creates urgency in the procurement process for election materials such as ballot papers.

The opposition party leader, who is an aspiring legislator for Harare East constituency, argued that it is imperative that their ordinary court application which was filed on 21 May 2018 be set down for hearing on an urgent basis to enable ZEC and Justice Chigumba adequate time to lawfully procure the election material through the open tender process in the event that their petition succeeds.

Meanwhile, Electoral Court Judge Justice Neville Wamambo on Monday 11 June 2018 reserved judgment on an application filed by some Harare residents seeking to stop their clandestine transfer from voting in Mt Pleasant constituency to Mazowe South constituency under some unclear circumstances.

Justice Wamambo reserved judgment after hearing some submissions from Kossam Ncube of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, who is representing the residents namely Warship Dumba and Celime Eunice Nyakutsikwa and from lawyers representing ZEC, who opposed the application. Dumba and Nyakutsikwa recently petitioned the Electoral Court seeking a reversal of ZEC’s decision to clandestinely transfer them from voting in their traditional constituency of Mt Pleasant constituency to Mazowe South constituency.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights