Drama unfolds in Zimbabwe: Court urged to direct ZEC to conduct fresh elections


Zimbabwean citizen seeks fresh election amidst alleged irregularities

In a remarkable move, Brian Mari, a citizen of Zimbabwe, has taken the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to court, demanding a fresh election due to a series of irregularities, including a flawed delimitation exercise. Mari’s application also names Chief Justice Luke Malaba as a respondent, challenging his judicial authority in the country.

The August 2023 poll results, which declared President Emmerson Mnangagwa as the winner, were initially disputed by the main opposition party, Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), who labeled the election a “gigantic fraud.” Mari’s legal action now adds weight to these concerns.

Mari’s application further calls upon the Law Society of Zimbabwe, listed as the fourth respondent, to investigate lawyer Lewis Uriri. Mari accuses Uriri of undermining democracy by representing conflicting parties in legal matters. Uriri, who is President Mnangagwa’s lawyer, has also represented Sengezo Tshabangu, the self-imposed secretary-general of CCC, who controversially recalled several opposition legislators following the harmonized elections.

“I, therefore, seek a declaratory that directs Law Society to conduct an investigation on the conduct of its members in relation to obligation imposed on every person by section 44 of the Constitution and binding in terms of section 45 and come up with a remedy that seek to protect right in section 67(1)(a) against the conduct of legal practitioners who carry instructions from two opposing parties, one in judicial robes and another as litigant and undermine democracy,” Mari stated in his application.

He also urged the court to direct the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to conduct fresh elections in adherence to democratic principles and laws. Additionally, Mari called for an investigation by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission into alleged abuses of office and authority within Parliament, Zec, and the courts, with appropriate action to be taken.

Mari’s application challenges the credibility of Chief Justice Luke Malaba, stating, “For reasons mentioned below, I do not recognise Mr Luke Malaba as the Chief Justice of Zimbabwe and I will always address him as Mr only.” He argues that Malaba lacks judicial authority in Zimbabwe and questions his qualification for the position.

Furthermore, Mari criticizes Lewis Uriri, accusing him of acting against the interests of Zimbabweans. Uriri, who represents Chief Justice Malaba in the Musa Kika vs Luke Malaba case, has also served as legal counsel for Tshabangu. Mari questions whose instructions Uriri prioritizes when he represents both Tshabangu, a litigant, and Malaba, a judge.

The outcome of this legal battle could have significant implications for Zimbabwe’s electoral process and the perception of its democratic practices. Mari’s case highlights concerns about irregularities in the previous election, and the court’s decision will be crucial in determining the way forward for the country’s political landscape.

As the case unfolds, Zimbabweans and the international community will be watching closely, eager to see if the court’s verdict will address the alleged irregularities and contribute to strengthening the democratic foundation of the nation.

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