HARARE – Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said yesterday he respects rights of citizens after agreeing that the Constitutional Court application of an activist demanding an extension of election date should be heard on an urgent basis.
Chris Mhike, Tsvangirai’s lawyer told the Daily News that applicant Nixon Nyikadzino had raised critical questions related to the rights of Zimbabwean citizens.
“It was deemed appropriate by the premier to afford the applicant an opportunity to be heard by the full bench of the Constitutional Court without hindrance,” Mhike said.
He said parties involved in the application did not oppose the case to be heard on an urgent basis when they appeared in Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku’s chambers.
They were ordered to file their papers next Tuesday for the matter to be heard during the week.
In the application, Nyikadzino who is represented by Lewis Uriri, cited President Robert Mugabe, Tsvangirai, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs minister Eric Matinenga, Justice and Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), Registrar–General of voters Tobaiwa Mudede, Finance minister Tendai Biti, Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo, Speaker of Parliament Lovemore Moyo, president of the Senate Edna Madzongwe, Harare MP Zwizwai Murisi, Chikomo senator Morgan Femai and attorney general Johannes Tomana as respondents.
Nyikadzino claims his “rights would be violated if elections are held before July 31”.
This comes after Centre for Elections and Democracy in Southern Africa (CEDSA) director and founding trustee Jealousy Mawarire won a Supreme Court case ordering Mugabe to call for elections by end of July.
Nyikadzino said there has not been progress in key and mandatory processes necessary for the holding of free and fair elections.
He further told the court he had reasonable apprehension that election-related violence may ensue as has happened in past elections and said Zec had not set up appropriate systems to eliminate electoral violence.
He said the judgment in Mawarire’s case was handed down to protect the rights of a single person.
Nyikadzino told the court there are no legislative and related reforms designed to ensure a free and fair election, dealing with violence, access to information, security sector realignment and war veterans’ representation among other reforms.
“My fear is that given the short time that is left, the respondents cannot fulfil their obligations without infringing on my rights,” he said.