Eight University of Zimbabwe (UZ) students have taken the institute of higher learning to court challenging its decision to ‘hijack’ upcoming elections to select student leaders.
The elections are set for November 28.
In an urgent chamber application filed at the High Court, the students through their lawyer Obey Shava said the decision to hijack electoral processes by UZ authorities should be declared null and void.
The students revealed that they had also been barred from contesting the elections and wanted their candidature reinstated.
They claim that the cause of action arose on November 22 when the elections commission announced that their nomination was invalid.
“Despite complying with the set guidelines as appears on the notice from the dean of students above and also complying with the requisite constitutional requirements, all the applicants were not declared duly nominated and as such we were disqualified to stand in the 28th November elections,” the students submitted.
“We are not privy to why our nomination was declined and for that reason, we requested, through a letter, the reasons for the disqualification and to the time of this application we have not been furnished with the reasons thereof.
“Absence of reasons for the invalidation of our nominations points to the fact that the decision arrived at was capricious, malicious and merely vindictive. It was baseless and unlawful.”
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They cited the student’s union, dean of students and the UZ as respondents. The students argued that the matter was urgent.
“Having been unjustly and unlawfully disqualified despite our right to stand in the election, we have been left with no option but to approach this court for a declaratory order and consequential relief so that we are permitted to exercise and enjoy our rights as enshrined in the student’s union constitution.
“The decision to disqualify the Applicants is thus malicious and capricious for want of compliance with the dictates of the Students' Union constitution and guidelines.”
The students said the decision to disqualify them was against the constitution of the UZ’s students’ representative council.
“Invalidating a nomination for reasons not stated nor recognised by law amounts to denying the electorate the right to vote for their preferred candidate and also denying the nominated candidate their lifetime chance to be voted into the supreme students' body at the most prestigious institution of higher learning in the land,” they added.