By Thandiwe Garusa
TAPERA Sengweni, legal advisor of the Douglas Mwonzora led MDC-T has filed a constitutional court application to stop the March 26 by-elections.
Sengweni argues President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) failed to proclaim the polls within the stipulated time.
Other applicants in the matter are Vinnah Mbele, Edify Kudzaishe Vushoma and Phanuel Tsvanu.
The constitution says by-elections should take place not more than 90 days after the vacancies arise.
In the application Sengweni said Zimbabwe is facing an economic crisis and elections are not necessary and there was a breach of the law.
“Mnangagwa failed or refused, neglected or absconded from proclaiming dates for the by-elections,” reads the application.
“The time specified by Zimbabwe’s constitution came and went. Mnangagwa did not proclaim the by-elections as mandated.
“As a citizen of this country, I believe in the full and correct interpretation and application of the national constitution.
“In other words, I have an alienable right to the correct and timeous interpretation and effect of the national constitution.
“There is no provision in Zimbabwean for a general by election covering 28 parliamentary constituencies and 121 council seats as intended by the purported proclamation of Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa.”
Massive recalls by Sengweni’s Mwonzora are the main reason for the March 26 by-elections.
“At no time has the Zimbabwean constitution been suspended from the date of the election of Mnangagwa as president of the country on 31 July 2018. Therefore, as citizens it is our right to enjoy its cover uninterrupted,” he added.
“The time set by the constitution of the country for the holding of by elections is mandatory and compulsory.
“The proclamation of by-elections by Mnangagwa in all the 28 parliamentary constituencies and the 121 council seats is therefore illegal.
“In any event there is really no need for by-elections now. This country is due to hold its harmonised elections in the next 16 months. It is prudent to wait for that date.
“As a small economy, Zimbabwe has financial challenges that are affecting most of its population.
“The government is struggling to pay its employees a living wage. It is not prudent to drag the country into another plebiscite whose outcome does not change the numerical configuration of parliament in any way.
“It is my view that this mini general election proclaimed by Mnangagwa is too expensive for Zimbabwe and needless. They are out of time anyway.”
The MDC-T which is being blamed for trying to stop an election that many analysts believe it will fair badly, has since distanced itself from Sengweni’s act.
“We wish to categorically state that we have not sponsored any of these four individuals and definitively state that we are not in any way involved in the said court case. It is not our intention to interfere with people seeking to assert their constitutional and legal rights,” read its statement on Twitter.