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HomeCourtsConstitutional Court Orders Parliament to Reassess Controversial Presidential Nomination Fee

Constitutional Court Orders Parliament to Reassess Controversial Presidential Nomination Fee

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The Parliament of Zimbabwe’s legal committee has been issued an ultimatum to convene and review Statutory Instrument 144 of 2022, which introduced a USD20,000 nomination fee for individuals aspiring to become presidential candidates.

The case was brought before a panel of seven judges, headed by Judge Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza.

The Constitutional Court ruled that the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC) had failed in its constitutional duty by neglecting to examine SI 144/22 since its gazetting in August of the previous year.

The applicant, Devine Hove, who represents the Nationalists Alliance Party and seeks to run as a presidential candidate, was represented by Professor Lovemore Madhuku. They argued that the exorbitant fees violated the rights of ordinary citizens to participate in public office.

Hove stated in his application, “The applicant contends that according to section 152(3)(c) of the Constitution, the responsibility lies with Parliament itself through the Parliamentary Legal Committee. In other words, the Constitutional obligations imposed on the Parliamentary Legal Committee are obligations that fall upon Parliament as defined in section 167(2)(d) of the Constitution.”

Meanwhile, the respondent specifically argued that the obligation outlined in section 152(3)(c) of the Constitution falls solely on the Parliamentary Legal Committee, not Parliament as a whole. Therefore, they maintained that no issues arose under section 167(2)(d) of the Constitution.

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In a statement to the media, Professor Madhuku expressed his belief that the Parliament should not approve the USD20,000 nomination fee, especially considering the country’s declining economy. He urged the Parliament to submit a report, suggesting that under normal circumstances, SI 144/22 should be nullified, and the USD1,000 nomination fee used during the 2018 elections should be reinstated.

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