Concourt Sets Date for Hearing of Diaspora Vote Challenge

The Constitutional Court will on Wednesday 14 February 2018 hear an application filed by three Zimbabweans challenging some restrictive provisions of the Electoral Act, which prevent Zimbabwean citizens living outside the country from participating in the country’s electoral processes.

In a notice of hearing, the Registrar of the Constitutional Court advised that the Full Bench of the Constitutional Court will hear the application on Wednesday 14 February 2018 at 9:30 am at Mashonganyika building, which houses the apex court.

The setting down of the hearing of the application follows the granting of an order by Chief Justice Luke Malaba, who on Thursday 18 January 2018 gave the green light to three Zimbabweans living outside the country to file the application on the right to vote.

In their application, which was filed by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC, Shumba and two other applicants are seeking an order to compel the respondents, who include the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) among other respondents, to facilitate the amendment of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13) and put appropriate measures so as to enable Zimbabweans living and working abroad to participate in the country’s electoral processes.

In the application, ZLHR and SALC argued that the residents’ requirements imposed under the Electoral Act are unconstitutional and that the new Constitution, which provides for political rights allows for every citizen of Zimbabwe to participate in political processes, wherever they are.

The applicants want some restrictive provisions of the Electoral Act, which disenfranchises some Zimbabweans based on their physical positions struck off the country’s statutes.

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