THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF ZIMBABWE’S UNCONSTITUTIONAL APPROACH OF APPLYING RULES OF LOCUS STANDI

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Author: 
JUSTICE ALFRED MAVEDZENGE
Journal Citation: 
UZ Law Journal ISSN 2617-20146
Media Neutral Citation: 
UZSLRJ III
Publication Date: 
31 October 2019

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF ZIMBABWE’S
UNCONSTITUTIONAL APPROACH OF APPLYING RULES OF LOCUS STANDI

BY JUSTICE ALFRED MAVEDZENGE1

(in loving memory of the late Blasio Zivengwa Mavedzenge)

 

ABSTRACT

This paper examines the rationality and legality of the rule of locus standi introduced by the Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe to the effect that no litigant is allowed to act in more than one capacity of locus standi in one matter. This rule was initially suggested in Mudzuru v Minister of Justice and was crystallised in Samuel Sipepa Nkomo v Minister of Local Government. When evaluated against the provisions of section 46 and section 85 of the Constitution, this rule is inconsistent with the liberal approach to determining locus standi and is therefore ultra vires the Constitution. At a conceptual level, this rule is untenable and irrational as it is contradictory to the theoretical foundations upon which the constitutional idea of judicial review is based. It is also inconsistent with the trajectory set by the same Court in its very first case of Jealous Mawarire v Robert Mugabe.

Keywords: Constitution, locus standi, constitutional court, human dignity, ultra vires

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1          Justice Alfred Mavedzenge holds a PhD in Constitutional Law from the University of Cape Town. He is a Researcher at the Democratic Governance and Rights
Unit of the University of Cape Town’s Law Faculty and an associate at Maja and Associates Commercial Law Chambers