An MDC-T legal advisor and the party president Douglas Mwonzora’s aide, Tapera Sengweni, has made a Constitutional Court application to stop the 26 March by-elections arguing that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) failed to hold elections within the timeframe prescribed by the laws of the country.
In his founding affidavit, Tapera cited President Emmerson Mnangagwa and ZEC as the first and second respondents respectively.
Tapera argues that Mnangagwa failed to proclaim dates for the by-elections within the time frame set by the constitution, therefore, the proclamations he made on 24 December 2021 and 27 January 2022 should be declared null and void.
He further asserts that Zimbabwe cannot afford to hold by-elections this month and should wait for general elections that are due in 2023. Part of the application reads:
As a small economy, Zimbabwe has financial challenges that are affecting the greater majority 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.
At present, the purpose of the Zimbabwe parliament is to enact national law. There is no ” individual” value of a member of parliament at all. Any law made by parliament will affect every Zimbabwean equally.
It does not matter for example that the Member of Parliament for Mkoba is out of Parliament.
Parliament can still produce quality law led by debate from a Member of Parliament of say, Umguza constituency.
It is my view that this mini general election proclaimed by the 1st Respondent is too expensive for Zimbabwe and needless. They are out of time anyway.
Zimbabwe is set to hold by-elections on 26 March, with 28 National Assembly and 121 council seats to be contested.
Most of the seats fell vacant after the MDC-T led by Douglas Mwonzora recalled elected MDC Alliance representatives for supporting a faction led by Nelson Chamisa.