Zim High Court rules that aliens can vote in 2018 polls

Harare ‑ The Zimbabwean High Court has ruled in favour of people with dual citizenship being registered in the ongoing biometric voter registration (BVR) driver so that they can participate in next year’s elections in the Southern African country.

Justice Nyaradzi Munangati-Manongwa on Wednesday said the “aliens” were supposed to produce the identity documents endorsed “alien” coupled with a birth certificate and proof of residence.

The granting of the court order came after human rights lawyer Denford Halimani of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) petitioned the High Court on behalf of Harare resident Sarah Kachingwe and two political parties, MDC-T and MDC-N, who sought an order to compel the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to register the so-called Aliens as prospective voters for the 2018 general elections during the ongoing BVR exercise.

The two political parties, led by Morgan Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube respectively, challenged Registrar-General (RG) Tobaiwa Mudede’s request that “Aliens” renounce their dual citizenship so they could be issued with new identity cards which would enable them to register as voters.

The political parties’ application together with ZEC “unanimously agreed that a citizen who is able to produce an identification card showing district of origin, and a birth certificate confirming that such citizen was born in Zimbabwe or from the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region and proof of residence, should, by operation of law, be freely allowed to register to vote as they would have sufficiently established their qualification to vote by virtue of proving that they were Zimbabwean by birth”.

They said such people did not need to prove anything in order to qualify to register as prospective voters.

The two MDC political parties argued that any additional requirement upon the so-called aliens would be discriminatory in the sense that they would be subjected to a condition that other ordinary Zimbabweans are not being subjected to.

The opposition political parties charged that the present situation, whereby people born in Zimbabwe to parents of foreign origin in SADC are required to renounce their entitlement to foreign citizenship before being issued with a fresh identification card by the RG’s Office, is unlawful as it is in contravention of Section 56 of the Constitution, which prohibits discrimination and promotes equality.