A Harare man Tapera Sengweni and three others have filed an application before the Constitutional Court seeking to bar the March 26 by-elections arguing that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission failed to proclaim the polls within the stipulated time frame.
In accordance with the law, by-elections should take place not more than 90 days after the seats fall vacant yet some of the vacant seats fell vacant as far back as 2020 when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Thokozani Khuphe in the opposition party’s leadership wrangle precipitating the recalls from Parliament of Chamisa-linked lawmakers.
Other applicants in the matter are Vinnah Mbele, Edify Kudzaishe Vushoma and Phanuel Tsvanu.
In an application in which President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the electoral body are 1st and 2nd Respondents, Sengweni said the country is currently grappling with financial challenges hence it is not sensible to hold the elections.
“This is an application for a determination that the 1st Respondent failed to call for by elections in all the 28 House of Assembly seats and council seats within the time stipulated by the constitution of Zimbabwe and therefore an order declaring, that the two purported proclamations above are unconstitutional, therefore null and void ab initio.
“Zimbabwe held its last general harmonised election on the 31″ of July 2018. I witnessed vacancies as they occurred in the constituencies. I waited for the 1n respondent to proclaim dates for by elections, within the time frame set by the constitution. The 1st respondent failed or refused, neglected of absconded from proclaiming dates for the by elections. The time specified by Zimbabwe’s constitution came and went. The 1st respondent did not proclaim the by elections as mandated,” read Sengweni’s application
He added “As a small economy Zimbabwe has financial challenges that are affecting the greater majority of its population. The government is struggling to pay its employees a living wage. It is not prudent to drag the country into another plebiscite whose outcome does not change the numerical configuration of parliament in any way.
“At present the purpose of Zimbabwe parliament is to enact national law. There is no “individual” value of a member of parliament at all. Any law made by parliament will affect every Zimbabwean equally. It does not matter for example that the Member of Parliament for Mkoba is out of Parliament. Parliament can still produce quality law led by debate from a Member of Parliament of say Umguza constituency. It is my view that this mini general election proclaimed by the V Respondent is too expensive for Zimbabwe and needless. They are out of time anyway.”