CON-COURT: Parly Speaker dismisses Zanu PF activist’s claim as delimitation report row rages

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By Staff Reporter

THE Parliament of Zimbabwe has hit back at Zanu PF member, Tonderai Chidawa, who dragged the legislature to court for accepting what he claimed to be a flawed Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Preliminary Delimitation Report.

Chidawa, who is being represented by Prof Lovemore Madhuku, wants the delimitation exercise investigated and redone.

Parliament has responded to the application through its speaker, Jacob Mudenda, who insisted that Parliament acted in accordance with the law and cannot be blamed.

“It is not in dispute that Parliament considered the Preliminary Delimitation Report which the President caused to be laid before it in terms of Section 161 (7( of the Constitution,” said Mudenda in his founding affidavit.

“By considering the Report which was laid before it in terms of Section 167 (7) Parliament complied with Section 161 (8) of the Constitution.

“Having acted in accordance with the provisions of Section 161 (8), Parliament could not have violated Section 119 as read with section 235 of the same Constitution hence the applicant has no case.

“Further, the act of laying the Report before Parliament in terms of section161 (7) is presumed Constitutional and unless that act/process is set aside, what Parliament did was constitutional.”

ZEC chairperson Priscilla Chigumba

Mudenda also said Chidawa failed to plead facts which can trigger exclusive jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court to deal with the matter.

He also said Chidawu filed his court application before the report was debated adding that ZEC is yet to make its final decision on the report.

“In view of this, the Honourable Court should not entertain his matter as it will end up interfering with other arms or departments of Government,” said the Speaker.

The delimitation report was tabled before Parliament on January 6 this year.

Chidawu argues that the report was signed by two commissioners out of nine, questioning whether it was a result of ZEC as a body corporate or two members of the commission.

Chidawu’s application is backed by affidavits from the two commissioners whose signatures are not appearing on the report – Cathrine Mpofu and Shepherd Manhivi.

“I believe that Parliament has failed to fulfil a constitutional obligation,” argued Chidawu.

“This failure has arisen in respect of the processes that have unfolded following the tabling in Parliament by the President of a preliminary delimitation report in terms of section 161(7) of the Constitution.

“The preliminary delimitation report tabled before Parliament was not signed by any of the Commissioners, a fact so glaring that Parliament ought to have sprung into action when I raised the issue, given that previous such reports were signed by all commissioners.”

His application at the apex court follows a January 7 letter, which he wrote to the Speaker of Parliament requesting that the delimitation report be investigated.