Court Grants Mugabe Permission To Hold By-elections In October

Beatrice Mtetwa, a board member of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, who represented the legislators, assented to a consent order together with Fortune Chimbaru from the Attorney General’s Office who represented President Mugabe allowing the Zanu (PF) leader to gazette a notice fixing dates for by-elections in three Matabeleland constituencies.

“It is ordered, by consent of the parties that; the period within which to comply with the Order granted in case No.SC 267/11 and is hereby extended to the 1st of October, 2012,”reads part of the consent order seen by Radio VOP.

Mugabe, through one of his lieutenants, Patrick Chinamasa, who is Justice and Legal Affairs Minister, asked for an extension of time from August 30 to October 01 so he could stage the elections.

Chinamasa, the Zanu (PF) deputy secretary for legal affairs, argued Mugabe had failed to call for the by-elections on time because of his busy schedule and circumstances beyond his control, which he did not elaborate.

Three legislators, who were expelled from Professor Welshman’s Ncube’s MDC party namely, Norman Mpofu, Abednico Bhebhe and Njabuliso Mguni took Mugabe to court in 2010 demanding the staging of by-elections in their constituencies.

In July, the Supreme Court confirmed a High Court order that the Zanu (PF) leader should call by-elections in three Matabeleland constituencies by the end of August. The order came after Mugabe had appealed against High Court Judge, Justice Nicholas Ndou’s decision in October last year ordering him to ensure by-elections for Nkayi South, Bulilima East and Lupane East were held, as they were constitutionally long overdue.

Justice Ndou granted the legislator’s application last year. However, Mugabe through Chinamasa lodged a Supreme Court appeal, which was opposed by the former and which was dismissed in July.