via MDC-T mulls withdrawing parliamentary poll challenges | The Zimbabwean by Adrian Mutigwe
Outgoing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party is considering withdrawing all the 95 petitions it had lodged with the Electoral Court because of financial constraints.
Party spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora told The Zimbabwean yesterday that justice had been placed beyond the reach of Zimbabweans.
“Now that justice in our own country has been made so expensive we are reviewing our position as regards the elections petitions we had lodged with the electoral court,” Mwonzora said.
Media reports this week indicated that Zimbabwe’s Electoral Court is yet to set dates for the hearing of the 95 petitions filed by MDC-T National Assembly losing candidates because the petitioners had not tendered the requisite security of costs fee to the tune of $10, 000 per individual case to the Electoral Court registry.
Mwonzora said the other reason was to do with the Constitutional Court judgement that declared President Robert Mugabe had won the contentious July 31 harmonised poll that have been described by Tsvangirai as a “farce and monumental fraud”.
“The other reason we are reviewing our position is because the ConCourt has already declared the elections free and fair. So we do not see how any other court, a lower one at that passing a judgement centrally to this one.
“The fee being charged by the Electoral Court is designed to deny us not only access to justice but also prevent us from exposing this fraud,’ said Mwonzora.
Tsvangirai two weeks ago filed a petition with the ConCourt disputing the results of the hotly contested polls won by Mugabe by 61 percent to the outgoing premier’s 34 percent. Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) also went on to win more two thirds majority of the parliamentary seats on offer.
The MDC-T president however went on to withdraw the petition on the grounds that the High Court had sat on an application in which the veteran trade unionist had sought to have the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission forced to grant him access to election material.
In Harare, 89 petitions were filed last Friday while six were filed in Bulawayo leaving the total number of petitions at 95.
Section 168 of the Electoral Act makes it a requirement for petitioners to tender security of costs as stipulated by the Electoral Court not later than seven days after the presentation of the election petition.