IN a ruling that is likely to set a precedent, the High Court in Bulawayo last week dismissed a challenge by the opposition MDC for the nullification of Zanu PF’s mayoral candid
ate in Gwanda for failing to produce a full “O” Level certificate that includes English Language.
Justice Nicholas Ndou dismissed an urgent application filed by the MDC candidate Thandeko Mnkandla, who eventually won the poll, seeking the disqualification of Zanu PF mayoral candidate Rido Mpofu for not having English at “O” Level.
In passing judgement, Ndou instead said English Literature, which appeared on Mpofu’s certificate, could be used as a substitute for English Language.
The judgement would come as a relief to thousands of Zimbabweans who have five “O” levels that include English Literature but do not have English Language. Without English Language one is unable to get a job or enter tertiary institutions of learning.
However, Nicholas Mathonsi, the lawyer representing the MDC said the judgement by the High Court was baffling since the law stated clearly that the requirement was English Language and not English Literature.
“The outcome of this case is very interesting and I’m sure it is going to be a welcome test case for people with English Literature and the right number of “O” Levels because they are going to use this judgement to get into higher educational institutions and for employment if they do not possess English Language,” Mathonsi said.
The Urban Councils Act (Section 103H) stipulates that any person who seeks to stand in the mayoral polls must have at least five “O” Level passes that should include English Language.