THE opposition MDC’s challenge to the disputed parliamentary election results three years ago is now an academic exercise, the party’s secretary-general Welshman Ncube has said.
“The delays in dealing with the cases has made them a mere academic exercise,” said Ncube.
The MDC challenged 39 seats won by Zanu PF in the June 2000 parliamentary election, alleging harassment and intimidation of its supporters. It has been successful in six of the cases. These are Buhera North, Hurungwe East, Mutoko South, Chiredzi North, Gokwe North and Gokwe South. It lost 31 challenges.
Judge President Paddington Garwe is yet to deliver judgement in the Makoni East case. In the Goromonzi election petition Justice Ben Hlatshwayo dismissed the MDC petition without giving his reason.
The six Zanu PF candidates who lost their cases immediately appealed to the Supreme Court and their cases are still to be heard.
Ncube said three years to decide an electoral matter means there is need to re-visit the electoral rules.
Most of the MPs under challenge are almost three fifths into their terms, he pointed out.
Constitutional law expert Dr Lovemore Madhuku said the delays cast a shadow over the country’s judicial system.
“An electoral challenge is an urgent matter,” said Madhuku who called for election tribunals to deal with urgent matters.