20 August 2018

Zimbabwe: Chamisa Election Petition Latest

Photo: allafrica.com
Emmerson Mnangagwa (left) and Nelson Chamisa

Parties to the election petition by MDC-Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa will today meet at the Constitutional Court Registry office to consolidate the record in preparation for the hearing of the challenge on Wednesday.

Mr Chamisa, who lost in the just-ended Presidential election to President Mnangagwa, claims the election was rigged.

He accuses the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) of conniving with Zanu-PF to rig the election in favour of President Mnangagwa.

President Mnangagwa won the election with 50,8 percent of the total vote against Mr Chamisa who got 44,3 percent.

The meeting will be held in compliance with an order issued last week by Chief Justice Luke Malaba at a case management meeting held in his chambers.

Part of the court order reads:

"By consent, it is ordered that consolidation of the record is to be attended to by the Registrar at 11am on Monday 20 August, 2018.

"All parties are expected to attend."

Today's meeting will be held after the filing of all the necessary court papers for the challenge to ensure the record will be in order.

In terms of the Chief Justice's order of last week, President Mnangagwa must file his head today at 10am.

Mr Chamisa filed his heads of argument and answering affidavit on Saturday beating the court's noon deadline.

In the petition, Mr Chamisa alleges electoral fraud and malpractices during the elections in which Zanu-pf romped to victory, claiming two-thirds parliamentary majority, with President Mnangagwa taking a 6,5 percent lead.

Mr Chamisa is seeking the nullification of President Mnangagwa's victory and wants the court to declare him the winner.

He claimed the election was not conducted in accordance with the law and was not "free and fair".

Mr Chamisa disputed the results, alleging the elections were engineered to rob him victory.

President Mnangagwa along with the other 21 losing presidential candidates and ZEC were all cited as respondents in the high-profile petition. In his response filed last Wednesday, President Mnangagwa argued that there was no valid election petition challenging his victory. He raised several preliminary objections to the petition.

The President wants the highest court in the land to dismiss the petition and confirm him the winner of the presidential poll held on July 30.

"The applicant has not placed before the court any evidence of irregularities which warrant the setting aside of the declaration made by the 23rd respondent (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba) that I won the elections," said President Mnangagwa.

He said a dismissal order was appropriate given the fact that the petition was plagued with flagrant procedural irregularities.

"It was lodged out of time," said President Mnangagwa. "Even then, it is wanting in respect of the addresses of 19 out of 25 respondents. No proof of service was filed with the Registrar of the Court within 48 hours as required by the (court) rules."

President Mnangagwa said the application was not served with all documents that Mr Chamisa claimed to have filed.

"This host of irregularities is fatal to the application," he said.

President Mnangagwa further argued that the intention by Mr Chamisa's lawyers to issue a subpoena against Justice Chigumba shows the MDC-Alliance leader accepted the inadequacies of his evidence.

In this regard, the President said the proper course of action which the court must adopt is to accept Mr Chamisa's admission and throw out the application.

President Mnangagwa contends that Mr Chamisa's petition is premised on alleged mathematical anomalies which have no factual basis.

He pointed out that Mr Chamisa did not make the application to set aside the Presidential election results in good faith, but simply wanted to delay his inauguration as the duly elected President of the country and to make political statements in court.

"This is apparent from the fact that the application does not comply with the rules of the court and Constitution," he said.

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