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» »Unlabelled » Court stops GZU student’s union election

Itai Muzondo

- The Masvingo magistrate's court sitting in Mashava recently stopped the much anticipated student representative council election at Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) after Zimbabwe National Student's Union (ZINASU), through their secretary for Legal Affairs, Privilege Kandira challenged the election procedure.
The election which had been dubbed, 'fast track' election was stopped after ZINASU presented to the courts that costs for entering the election race were too high and also argued that they had not been given enough time to prepare for the election.
GZU had also not seen any elections since 2014 as the authoritarian hand of Zimbabwe Congress of Student's Union (ZICOSU) thwarted any efforts by other unions to hold an election.
"The constitution says that elections should be held within four weeks of the opening of the second semester and this was never done since 2014. The responsible authorities decided on 16 August 2016 to announce the day of elections as 6 September 2016. They also pegged their fee at US$100 per candidate for presidium and US$50 for the rest.
"This money was pegged to bar them from participating in the elections. There is no any reason to charge the amount. The students approached the first and second responded (Student's Representative Authority and Electoral Supervisory Commission) on several occasions to extend the time for registration and on all occasions they showed no interest…on 2 September 2016, our legal practitioners wrote them a letter to extend the time and again they refused," reads part of the supporting affidavit wrote by ZINASU.
The court went on to extend registration time by two weeks and slashed the hefty amounts that were being demanded for entering the campaign race. They were also urged to shun the electronic voting process as ZINASU argued that it was against the school's constitution which notes that elections should be done by way of ballot.
"The respondents should extend time for registration by two weeks and to slash the registration fees to US$50 and US$20 respectively. The respondents must also follow the constitution and stop using doctored documents or computers in the voting process," read the court order.
The respondents were also ordered to pay cost of suit.
Mashava Magestrate, Bishard Chineka presided over the issue.
Human Rights Lawyer, Martin Mureri of Matutu and Mureri Legal Practitioners represented ZINASU.

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