Zanu-PF to contest court ruling

via Zanu-PF to contest court ruling | The Herald December 4, 2013 by Daniel Nemukuyu

Zanu-PF lawyers have said they will today approach the Electoral Court in Bulawayo seeking to have the default judgment declaring Kwekwe Central National Assembly Constituency vacant rescinded.The order granted by Justice Andrew Mutema in a petition in which MDC-T’s Blessing Chebundo was contesting the July 31 election results in the constituency directed the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to set a date for a fresh election within 10 days.

Advocate Fred Gijima said there were administrative problems that resulted in Zanu-PF’s Cde Masango Matambanadzo and the lawyers failing to attend court on Monday.

“The application will be made on an urgent basis because there are only 10 days within which the election date must be set,” he said. “There was an administrative error that caused the lawyers not to appear in court for the petition, but we had a strong case.”

Zec chairperson Justice Rita Makarau said she had not been served with the order and that she was not in a position to comment on the issues of compliance.

She said she only read from the media that Zec was ordered to set an election date, but said setting of election dates was the responsibility of the President.

“I have not yet been served with the court order and I do not really know what is in it,” he said. “If it is true that Zec was ordered to set an election date within 10 days, then there will be a problem with the order because we do not set election dates. That is the responsibility of the President and not Zec.”

The order in question reads:

“Whereupon after reading documents filed of record and hearing Mr N Hlabano for the respondent; It is ordered that respondent (Cde Matambanadzo) was not duly elected as a member of the House of Assembly for Kwekwe Central Constituency in the harmonised election of July 2013. “The Parliamentary seat for Kwekwe Central constituency be and is hereby declared to be vacant. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to set a date for the election within 10 days of this order. The costs of this petition be borne by the respondent.”

Meanwhile, on Monday Justice Chinembiri Bhunu in Harare dismissed two petitions by MDC-T losing candidates Bednock Nyaude (Bindura South) and Silas Gweshe (Murewa South) on the basis that they failed to comply with rule 21 of the Electoral Court.

The rule compels petitioners to serve the people complained of to defend themselves and there were no addresses of the same people in the petition.