‘It is ordered that this application be and is hereby dismissed with no order as to costs‘
Firebrand … Zanu PF activist Tonderai Chidawa (left) sought a court ruling forcing the dumping of the delimitation report
HARARE – The Constitutional Court (ConCourt) has rejected an attempt by a Zanu PF activist to force dumping of the current constituency boundaries delimitation report citing alleged constitutional violations during its crafting process.
Tonderai Chidawa had approached the apex court also seeking the nullification of proceedings that took place in parliament from the time the poll-based document was tabled in the house January 6 this year.
The activist also wanted parliament to investigate the ZEC discord which saw seven commissioners disown the draft document.
The commissioners adamantly refrained from appending their signatures on a draft document that was presented to President Emmerson Mnangagwa by ZEC chairperson Priscilla Chigumba.
Only Chigumba and her deputy Rodney Simukai Kiwa signed the document.
However, a full ConCourt bench chaired by Chief Justice Luke Malaba ruled that the law does not place any obligation on parliament to investigate the object of the said ZEC divisions.
“There is no cause of action pleaded against the respondent,” said ConCourt.
“It is ordered that this application be and is hereby dismissed with no order as to costs.”
Harare lawyer Lovemore Madhuku, who was representing Chidawa, said the “judgement was disappointing” adding that the court simply ignored the sections he had cited on behalf of his client.
“It’s a very disappointing judgement. It is disappointing in the sense that the court refused to have a look at section 119 and obligations of parliament,” he said.
Chidawa’s argument was whether an unsigned draft delimitation report presented to President Mnangagwa by ZEC on December 26, and tabled in parliament days later, was a product of ZEC as a body corporate, or just two members of the commission.
Chidawu, whose application was supported by affidavits by two ZEC commissioners, argued that the draft report was overwhelmingly rejected by seven of the nine commissioners, and should, accordingly, not have been forwarded to the president.
He also wanted court to rule on whether Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda acted within the law by refusing to investigate and determine whether or not the report presented to parliament for debate was a product of ZEC as a body corporate, or just by two members of ZEC.
He anchored his application on a letter sent to Mnangagwa by the rebel commissioners who were disowning the draft delimitation report.
The row, which came as a big test to the independence of ZEC, also brought to the fore, Zanu PF’s factional fights amid revelations that Vice President Constantino Chiwenga and spy boss Isaac Moyo were backing Chigumba.
There were claims Mnangagwa and his lieutenants favoured sinking the draft report and steer the holding of this year’s harmonised elections under the old constituency boundaries dispensation.