Source: ZEC wins all poll petitions | The Herald July 1, 2019
Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has won all 73 petitions concluded in court following the July 2018 harmonised elections, while the remaining seven cases are still pending.
The election management body said it had not lost a single court case, an indication that it ran last year’s polls in terms of the Constitution and subsidiary laws.
International observers, among them the African Union, Commonwealth and Sadc, endorsed the elections won by President Mnangagwa and Zanu-PF as free, fair and credible, and a true reflection of the will of the people.
ZEC made the observation on court challenges in its July 2018 harmonised election report tabled in Parliament last week by Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi.
The petitions included the high-profile case brought by MDC-Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa, who lost his bid in the Constitutional Court to have President Mnangagwa’s victory nullified after the superiour court ruled that the challenge lacked merit.
The MDC-Alliance has rejected the election results in which President Mnangagwa beat Mr Chamisa after garnering 50,8 percent against the coalition leader’s 44,3 percent.
The ruling Zanu-PF won 145 National Assembly seats against the MDC-Alliance’s 63 seats.
In its report, ZEC said most of the petitions were premised on “fringe grounds”.
“The Commission was subjected to a barrage of litigation most of which it believed was based on fringe grounds to the electoral process,” reads the report. “In a total of 80 cases filed in the courts of law during the electoral process, the Commission was cited as respondent.”
ZEC called for the proper regulation of timelines within which candidates could withdraw from an election late into the process when nomination court had long sat.
“Unlike in the Presidential election, the withdrawal of candidature for the National Assembly and local authority elections was not regulated as regards the period within which it had to be done,” it said. “Some candidates withdrew their candidature late into the election period, thereby affecting the ballot paper design and printing by the Commission, especially for the postal vote.
“The major challenge for the Commission is that the law imposes certain obligations such as bringing the withdrawal of a candidate to the attention of voters and ensuring that the name of the withdrawn candidate is omitted or deleted from all ballot papers before the election.
“The withdrawal of candidature for National Assembly and local authority elections should be regulated in terms of time to match the Presidential election which provides for 21 days before polling. This will ease the challenges currently faced by the Commission in ballot paper designing and printing before an election.”
The election management body observed that the high number of withdrawals by candidates was caused by intra-party conflict which leads to double registrations.
ZEC implored authorities to supply it with fuel expeditiously and efficiently to allow for the smooth running of the elections.
“The supply of fuel was erratic during the entire election period,” it said. “However, the Commission was provided with a budget for the procurement and maintenance of its own fleet of vehicles for the elections. The State is encouraged to provide funding to the Commission to enable it to procure more of its own fleet of vehicles, maintenance of same and fuel facilities.”
ZEC said it was satisfied with the way it had administered the July 2018 harmonised elections.
“In spite of the logistical and financial challenges encountered, the Commission was committed to the discharge of its constitutional mandate in a transparent and professional manner and to the satisfaction of all its stakeholders,” it said.
“The Commission consulted and worked in collaboration with its stakeholders throughout the election period. The Commission is satisfied that the 2018 harmonised elections were conducted in a manner and under conditions that allowed voters to freely express their will. ZEC contends that the results were a true reflection of the Zimbabwean electorate.”
Regarding the media, ZEC said there was general compliance with the law.