An independent candidate has filed an urgent court application to force Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to order elections in a constituency where voting was postponed last month after the death of an opposition candidate.
from our correspondent in Harare
Zimbabwe held parliamentary elections on March 29 that were won by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, but ZEC is yet to issue results of a parallel presidential vote, which Mugabe is believed to have lost to MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Voting was deferred in the constituencies of Pelandaba-Mpopoma, Gwanda South and Redcliff in terms of the electoral law that allows postponement of polling in the event of a candidate dying to afford contesting parties an opportunity to choose replacement candidates.
But Bulawayo lawyer Job Sibanda, who was standing as an independent candidate in Pelandaba-Mpopoma, says the Electoral Act stipulates that the ZEC should have postponed elections for a maximum of 14 days. He wants the High Court to order the commission to set a new date for a by-election in the constituency. Mugabe is third respondent in the matter while ZEC and its chief elections officer, Lovemore Sekeramayi, are second and first respondents respectively.
Sibanda said in papers filed with the Bulawayo High Court: “Respondents have failed despite the clear provisions of the law stipulating that a by-election should be ordered within 14 days of the announcement of the death of a candidate . . . to announce when the by-election will be held.
“Through their continued silence, the respondents continue to be in breach of the law. There is an urgent need therefore to direct that the respondents be ordered to comply with the law.”
The matter was not yet set down for hearing by Friday. The application just adds another new twist to Zimbabwe’s election stalemate that began after ZEC withheld results of the presidential vote and which
political analysts say has potential to explode into serious violence and
The MDC, which recently lost a court bid to force electoral authorities to
release results of the presidential poll, says Mugabe’s government has blocked results while it implements a campaign of violence and terror to cow voters to back the 84-year old President in an anticipated second round run-off poll against Tsvangirai.