By Darlington Gatsi
THE Constitutional court has initiated proceedings to hear the matter of a Zanu PF member, Tonderayi Chidawu, who is challenging Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s (ZEC) delimitation report, which he claims has irregularities.
Chidawu, who is being represented by Lovemore Madhuku, wants the delimitation exercise redone.
In his papers, Chidawu cited Parliament of Zimbabwe as the respondent, accusing the august house of failing to set aside the delimitation report and initiate investigations into it.
The delimitation report was tabled before Parliament on January 6 this year.
Chidawu argues that the delimitation report was not 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. 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,” read the court papers in part.
His application at the apex court follows his letter on January 7, which he wrote to the Speaker of Parliament requesting for the delimitation report to be investigated.
The findings in the delimitation report will be used in the upcoming elections.
Parliament has since debated on the report with an ad hoc committee trashing it, with opposition and ruling party Members of Parliament denouncing it.
“It is my respectful belief that no reasonable person applying his or her mind to the document signed by seven out of nine members of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission would fail to conclude that there is a reasonably strong basis for the suspicion that the preliminary delimitation report tabled in Parliament and currently being debated is not an act of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission as a body corporate [as required by the Constitution] but a report by one or two members of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [and thus contrary to the Constitution],” reads his court application.
The delimitation has reportedly been a bone of contention in Zanu PF with some members routing for it to be discarded, while others are calling for its adoption.
While Chidawu was appearing at the constitutional court, President Emmerson Mnangagwa was receiving Parliament’s findings on the delimitation report.
Speaking after the initial court appearance Thursday, Madhuku said they are now moving to file an interdict to halt the proceedings regarding the delimitation report.
“In the meantime, because the matter is before the court, we are going to be seeking an interim relief. We will seek an interdict against the processes,” said Madhuku.
Parliament has been given 21 working days to file opposing papers.