FORMER Parliamentary and Constitutional Affairs minister Eric Matinenga (pictured) says the Constitutional Court’s failure to deal with MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora’s application to have the delimitation report nullified — on a technicality — is likely to prolong the case as it is likely to end up in the same court.
The ConCourt last Monday dismissed Mwonzora’s application in which he sought to have the delimitation report nullified and the elections postponed. The ConCourt said it has no jurisdiction. Mwonzora has indicated he will appeal to the High Court.
In an interview with The NewsHawks this week, Matinenga said the ConCourt should have heard Mwonzora’s case, to avoid unnecessary delays.
“They should have dealt with the issue on the merits, because now Mwonzora is going to the High Court and raise a constitutional case, and the issue is going to come back to the Constitutional Court. I am actually not against Mwonzora’s bid challenging the delimitation process.
“But, where I think the dishonesty comes in is when he calls for the elections to be postponed. So I think they should have dealt decisively with the case,” he said.
The delimitation report has largely been criticised for its serious shortfalls that include gerrymandering in favour of Zanu PF.
Analysts have also expressed concern over Zec’s decision to retain flaws flagged in the preliminary delimitation report presented to President Emmerson Mnangagwa in December last year.
The report also resulted in divisions among commissioners. Seven commissioners have spoken out against the delimitation report effectively opposing chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba. As a result of the fallout, Chigumba removed Commissioner Jasper Mangwana and his deputy Catherine Mpofu from their roles as spokespersons of the election management body.
Chugumba allocated the role to herself, her deputy Rodney Kiwa and Zec’s chief elections officer Utloile Silaigwana. The final report gazetted by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in February has in some cases retained a ward and constituency population threshold of over 20% — in violation of the constitution — which has in the past been condemned by experts, while failing to declare ward and constituency boundaries, which is contrary to section 161 (11) of the constitution.
While experts agree that the delimitation was flawed, they have dismissed Mwonzora’s overtures to have elections postponed, questioning his honesty and intentions.
As previously reported by The NewsHawks, Matinenga said while it was constitutional for Mwonzora to file an application over the report which is seriously riddled with errors, the demand to have elections postponed is wrong and “dishonest”.
“[I] have not read the full Constitutional Court application by Mwonzora, yet, save for paragraphs 1 & 2 shown on this platform. The delimitation report is a mess, both in terms of process and substance. It must be set aside.
“The consequential relief sought in paragraph 2 is, in my view, dishonest. Section 161(2) of the constitution provides for the use of ‘boundaries that existed immediately before the delimitation are applicable’.
“The relief which the application should seek therefore is not to postpone the election but for the 2008 boundaries to be used,” Matinenga wrote on social media.