ZIMBABWE: CHALLENGING THE DISENFRANCHISEMENT OF ZIMBABWEANS IN THE DIASPORA

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Salc : Staff Writer

Shumba & Others v Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs & Others

SALC supported three members of the Zimbabwe Diaspora, represented by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, who challenged the provisions of the Electoral Act which prohibit Zimbabweans who live abroad from registering to vote or voting in elections. SALC also worked in conjunction with the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum.

The applicants submitted that the residency restrictions violate the constitutional guarantees of universal suffrage. In addition, the applicants argued that the provisions are unconstitutionally discriminatory as there is a limited class of people—those living abroad in government service and their spouses—who may vote from abroad by post.

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has already held that the provisions violate the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights; however, Zimbabwe has not implemented that decision.

The applicants approached the Constitutional Court directly for an urgent decision. On the 18 January 2018, Chief Justice Luke Malaba granted direct access to the Constitutional Court for a hearing on the legal challenge. The case was heard on 14 March 2018. Judgment was handed down on 30 May 2018. The Constitutional Court dismissed the applicants’ case.

 

Constitutional Court Papers
Applicants’ Direct Access Application- Part 1
Applicants’ Direct Access Application- Part 2
1st, 4th, 5th, and 6th Respondents’ Response to Application for Direct Access
2nd and 3rd Respondents’ Response to Application for Direct Access
1st, 4th, 5th, and 6th Respondents’ Notice of Opposition
Applicants’ Answering Affidavit
Applicants’ Heads of Argument
1st, 4th, 5th, and 6th Respondents’ Heads of Argument
Constitutional Court Judgment