You are offside, Mugabe told

HARARE - Expelled former Zanu PF bigwig, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, is taking President Robert Mugabe, pictured, on for going ahead with the proclamation of by-election dates for the Mwenezi East Constituency, saying this is “patently unconstitutional”.

In an urgent chamber application, in response to the nonagenarian’s move last week to announce through a government gazette the dates, July 20 and September 19, for the nomination court and by-election in Mwenezi, the former Masvingo provincial minister says this is a clear breach of the Constitution.

By launching his urgent chamber application, Bhasikiti wants the court to set aside the sitting of the nomination court before his case challenging his expulsion from Zanu PF is heard, saying that proceeding with the by-elections would be in violation of both his rights and the Constitution.

He scored a minor victory last month when the Constitutional Court directed that by-elections for the constituency “should not be held before the resolution of the dispute on the legality or otherwise” of his expulsion from Zanu PF.

However, and despite that court order, Mugabe went on to proclaim July 20 as the date of the sitting of the nomination court and September 19 as the day that the by-election would be held.

But Bhasikiti’s lawyer, Tonderai Bhatasara, is arguing the proclamation of the electoral dates “would prejudice the applicant seriously in that this matter would not have been heard before the 20th of July”.

“The proclamation, thus, denies the right of the applicant to pursue his rights as guaranteed and ordered by the Constitutional Court and protected by the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

“Equally in the event that the applicant was to lose, making the Constitutional Court sit on the 20th of July would mean that he would have been denied his rights guaranteed by Section 67 of the Constitution to participate in the elections,” Bhatasara says.

High Court judge Chinembiri Bhunu reserved judgment on the matter last week where Bhasikiti was challenging his expulsion from Zanu PF.

“Moreover, the proclamation (Mugabe’s) is patently unconstitutional in that the date of the election has been fixed way outside the 90 days as provided by Section 159 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

“I have no doubt that should the nomination court sit on the 20th of July 2015 and should this court not afford the applicant protection set from this order, then quite clearly, the applicant will have no other remedy,” Bhatasara adds.

In his affidavit Bhasikiti says his rights as a citizen have been breached by Zanu PF which he argues expelled him without following due process.

“The effect of fixing the date of the nomination court to sit on 20th of July effectively defeats the rule of law, in particular my right to be heard. The Constitutional Court recognised that I had this right to due process and that I had to be heard.

“The first respondent (Mugabe), in making proclamations, is thus in clear violation of my rights. I contend further that the first respondent is obliged to respect the doctrine of separation of powers. He is obliged to respect the superiority of this esteemed court,” Bhasikiti says.

The Mwenezi East legislator added, “I contend that the Constitution and no one else, including the first respondent, is the supreme law and authority of the country”.

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