The Africa Judges and Jurists Forum (AJJF) has dispatched senior judges and jurists to observe MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa’s presidential court challenge against President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa, set to be heard at the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) starting today.
Arnold Tsunga, Africa director at International Commission of Jurists, yesterday disclosed that three jurists had already been accredited to observe Chamisa’s presidential petition.
“The Africa Judges and Jurists Forum will be represented by secretary-general Martin Masiga from Uganda, Retired Chief Justice Earnest Sakala of Zambia and Justice Isaac Lenaola from the Supreme Court of Kenya,” Tsunga said.
“The AJJF works closely with the International Court of Jurists and the latter strongly supports the mission.
He added: “The three are already in the country and have been accredited.”
The AJJF, headquartered in South Africa, was formed by African judges and jurists to create space for African judges and jurists to promote the rule of law and development in the region.
AJJF, in a statement, said the observation mission will focus on the proceedings of the case’s compliance with regional and international human rights law and standards on fair trial.
“These norms are substantially reflected in the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Members of the observation mission will sit and follow proceedings from the courtroom,” part of the statement read.
“At the end of the exercise, the observers will compile and release an independent and impartial report, stating their conclusions on the fair trial dimension of the proceedings. In appropriate cases, they may make recommendations they deem necessary for the improvement of the administration of justice in the future.”
Masiga said in an environment of polarisation and tension, the presence of international observers gives the litigating parties and their supporters a sense of international assistance and renewed confidence.
“The presence of the observation mission should help to make sure that justice is both done and seen to be done,” Masiga, who is the founder member and incumbent of the forum, said.
Chamisa’s court challenge is expected to be attended by many diplomats and foreign journalists.