Judge Demands More Time

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HARARE

Lawyers for Zimbabwe’s opposition told the High Court yesterday there was no reason to further delay presidential election results, but the judge demanded more time to hear the case.

Justice Tendai Uchena has dismissed claims by the electoral commission that his court has no jurisdiction in the matter and agreed it is an urgent matter, but has demanded a second day of hearings today.

“We have to deal with matters with full concentration. Let’s postpone this matter until tomorrow at 10h00,” he said.

After persuading Uchena that their demand for the immediate release of results should be considered forthwith, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change’s chief counsel argued any further hold-up was unreasonable.

“There is nothing preventing them (the electoral commission) from announcing the results which they must announce but which results they have not announced,” MDC lawyer, Alec Muchadehama, told the court in Harare.

“The time it has taken for the results to be announced, (shows) the respondents have failed to act within a reasonable time.

“Even if there is no specific provision in the Electoral Act providing a time frame within which the presidential poll ought to have been announced, I submit that the totality of the circumstances of the case is that the respondents have failed to act within a reasonable time.”

The electoral commission, which has refused to give any word on the outcome of the March 29 ballot, had hoped Uchena would decide either the MDC’s demand was beyond his jurisdiction or it should not be considered on an urgent basis.

Uchena told the court yesterday he would consider the application as urgent, while the commission’s lawyer said a legal ruling ordering the results was impractical.

“How can important issues in relation to 210 constituencies in the country be done upon service of an order? It doesn’t make sense at all,” lawyer, George Chikumbirike, said.
– Nampa-AFP

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