High Court Judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi has ruled against presidential aspirant Saviour Kasukuwere’s urgent application to cancel Statutory Instrument 140A of 2023, which amended the Electoral Act regarding postal voting.

The High Court has determined that Kasukuwere’s challenge on Statutory Instrument (SI) 140A of 2023 is administrative and does not constitute a change in the law.

The Statutory Instrument allowed the Chief Elections Officer to receive postal votes up to three days before the voting day instead of 14 days.

In his ruling, Justice Chitapi stated that he was not convinced of the application’s merit and dismissed it with costs.

Justice Chitapi said:I am of the view that the law was not changed, and that any periods provided by the Act can be altered.

My view is that the passage of SI 140A is administrative, exercised as and when necessary to do so.

It cannot be held that the exercise of the power given is alteration of the law. SI 140A therefore amounts to a conduct of implementation of the law, not changing the law.

My view is that the Electoral law remains extant: it is the same law which says implement me in this way, an exercise which makes sure that the implementation is done properly.

I am not persuaded that this matter has merits to stand. The application is dismissed with no order as to the costs.

Speaking after the ruling, Kasukuwere expressed said he respects the ruling delivered by Justice Chitapi.

He said:If you disagree with a position, you go to court. Courts are not approached with a predetermined outcome.

We respect the judgement handed down this afternoon by Hon Chitapi, J.

The struggle will continue and one day the court of public opinion will decide. Asante Sana. 23 August 2023.

Some Context:The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) last week altered the period specified in the Electoral Act for the dispatch of postal ballot papers for the 2023 general elections.

The Commission said due to the high number of court applications and appeals against the decision of the nomination court, the Commission has been unable to print and distribute ballot papers until the finalisation of the said matters.

The alteration allows for a shorter period for the dispatch of covering envelopes for postal ballots, with the deadline now set at noon three days before polling day instead of noon on the fourteenth day before polling day.

The regulations have been approved by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.