HARARE – A Harare court will on Friday rule on an application by the Election Resource Centre (ERC) to refer to the Constitutional Court a matter in which it is charged with conducting voter education without the approval of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) ahead of the July 31 vote.
Harare Magistrate Tendai Mahwe will deliver his ruling on an application in which the ERC wants to test the constitutionality of some provisions of the Electoral Act which outlaws voter registration, thereby criminalising freedom of expression and breaching the organisation and its employees’ fundamental rights.
ERC lawyer, Trust Maanda, filed an application seeking to declare as unconstitutional Section 40 of the Electoral Act arguing it breaches Section 61, 62, 64 and 67 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
The ERC, represented by its director Tawanda Chimhini, also wants the Constitutional Court to declare Section 40 of the Electoral Act void for being “overbroad, vague and imprecise.”
The ERC wants the criminal proceedings stayed pending the determination by the Constitutional Court whether the Electoral Act was not ultra vires the Constitution.
Chimhini was arrested together with Farai Saungweme, Wadzanai Previous Nyakudya and Moses Chikora and charged with contravening Section 40 (c) (1) (g) of the Electoral Act ahead of the July 31 harmonised elections for allegedly conducting voter education without the approval of the Zec.
Civil society organisations in Zimbabwe have argued that Zec has no capacity to conduct voter education alone and other players must be allowed to assist.