THE Supreme Court will on Wednesday hear a last ditch attempt by the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) to have this week’s constitutional referendum postponed.
BY OUR STAFF
A fortnight ago, High Court judge, Justice George Chiweshe said he did not have the jurisdiction to hear a challenge against President Robert Mugabe, but the NCA claims the judge erred.
NCA lawyer, Alec Muchadehama said they had applied to the Supreme Court to have the matter heard as an urgent issue. “We applied to have the matter heard as an urgent matter and that application was granted,” he said. “We expect the ruling to also be made on an urgent basis.”
Muchadehama said they felt the High Court had made a mistake in dismissing their initial application, as it had not heard arguments from both parties. “The parties were not given an opportunity to argue other aspects of the case,” he said.
“He just said he had no merit to hear the case.”
The NCA, which is opposed to the new draft constitution, is arguing that Zimbabweans were not given ample time to study the new charter before it was brought to a referendum.
A referendum is expected on Saturday, only a month after the draft constitution was presented to parliament, raising the ire of critics, who claim one month is inadequate for people to study and make an informed decision on the charter.
After the judgement, the NCA accused Chiweshe of not listening to the merits and demerits of their case and instead, choosing to protect Mugabe from scrutiny by members of the public.
It questioned the judgement saying it meant the president was above the law, whose declarations could not be questioned.
“What it means, therefore, is that such a sitting president is not subject to scrutiny by the electoral courts that will seek to hear electoral disputes during the coming elections,” reads the statement.