Courts wrap up electoral petitions

Source: Courts wrap up electoral petitions | Sunday Mail (Local News)

Sharon Munjenjema

The Electoral Court is now winding up poll petitions from last year’s plebiscite and The Sunday Mail can reveal that only 10 of the 56 lodged cases remain on the roll.

Among the cases that have been disposed, include that of MDC-Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa who sought a court nullification of the presidential election result and that he be declared winner.

The case was dismissed with costs by the Constitutional Court which upheld President Emmerson Mnangagwa as the legitimate winner of the July 30 2018 elections.

A status report from the High Court shows that; “of the 56 cases lodged to the Electoral Court, 20 were dismissed while 13 were withdrawn.

“Eight cases were abandoned due to failure by the aggrieved parties to meet certain requirements within the stipulated time frames in the Electoral Act.”

According to the Electoral Act aggrieved parties have 14 days after the election to file petitions with the Electoral Court.

The petitioner should pay security costs within seven days of filing their case.

Failure to pay the costs within seven day allows the court to extend the grace period by three months after which the matter is completely struck off the Electoral Court roll.

The Electoral Act section 182 (1) stipulates that: “Every election petition shall be determined within six months from the date of presentation.

“An appeal under section 172 (2) shall be determined within three months from the date of lodging of the appeal.”

According to Section 172 (2), a person aggrieved by the decision of the High Court may appeal to the Supreme Court.

The High Court status report shows that among the dismissed petitions is the matter between Gift Machokoto Konjana of MDC Alliance who challenged the victory of Zanu-PF’s Dexter Nduna in the Chegutu West National Assembly elections.

MDC Alliance’s Blessing Chebundo’s case challenging results of the Kwekwe Central parliamentary elections which were won by NPF’s Masango ‘Blackman’ Matambanadzo was dismissed with costs.

Withdrawn cases included that of Muvirimi Francis Mangwendedza of MDC Alliance who challenged Zanu-PF’s Rajeshkumar Modi victory in Bulawayo South.

The matter of Taurai Clifford Nhamburo of MDC Alliance who contested results of the Goromonzi West where Zanu-PF’s Energy Mutodi was declared winner was dismissed after the petitioner failed to pay security costs.

MDC Alliance’s Luke Tamborinyoka petition against Energy Mutodi’s victory in the same constituency was ‘abandoned’ by the courts.

The case of Zanu-PF’s Phillip Chiyangwa whose Zvimba South parliamentary seat victory was contested by MDC Alliance’s Nkosilathi Nyamadzayo was abandoned for failure to meet requirements within the stipulated time.

Cases still pending include that of former Zanu-PF member Noah Mangondo who is challenging Zanu PF’s Biggie Joel Matiza’s Murehwa South’s parliamentary victory. The July 2018 elections saw Zanu- PF romp to victory with over two thirds majority in Parliament.