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Douglas Mwonzora’s ‘plan to delay 2023 elections’ halted by ConCourt

The Constitutional Court (ConCourt) this week dismissed an application by opposition MDC Alliance leader Douglas Mwonzora challenging the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s (ZEC)’s delimitation report.

Most political commentators were of the view this was a backdoor attempt to postpone elections.

Mwonzora and his party last month approached the ConCourt seeking an order to compel President Emmerson Mnangagwa not to proclaim poll dates before addressing the controversy surrounding the delimitation report. He wanted the report to be declared illegal.

The ConCourt, however, dismissed Mwonzora’s application saying:

“No cause of action has been advanced by the application. Accordingly the application is dismissed with no order as to costs.”

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Mwonzora however described the ruling as politically motivated and unfair.

“The Constitutional Court has dismissed our application and their argument is that they don’t have jurisdiction. In our respectful view the Constitutional Court has made a political judgement, it is an unfair judgement and we do not accept it but we have received legal advice and the matter is not stopping here.

“We are going to continue with our struggle for democracy, we want free and fair elections in Zimbabwe and they cannot be free where the delimitation report is so fundamentally flawed this is a recipe for disaster,” Mwonzora said.

Mnangagwa gazetted the report on February 21 this year. But seven of ZEC’s nine commissioners had already distanced themselves from the report citing it was a product of the commission’s chairperson and her deputy.

The President is likely to proclaim election dates anytime this month in line with the provisions of the Constitution.

Election watchdog, Election Resource Centre (ERC) recently said postponing general elections for whatever reason would be unconstitutional.

“Through elections, the fundamental right of every citizen to political participation is realised and elections guarantee the philosophical-political principle of democracy (people’s power),” the ERC said in a statement.

“Suspending elections would be a clear violation of the rights of Zimbabweans to participate in the democratic process and would be a step away from democratic accountability and has the potential to lead to political instability.

“Suspending elections denotes a move away from the hard deadline spelled out in the Constitution where the terms of office of elected officials end on August 26, 2023. This is a threat to Zimbabwe’s constitutional democracy,” the ERC said