Zimbabwe: ConCourt Petition Ruling Tomorrow

Photo: The Herald
The Constitutional Court bench of judges.
23 August 2018

The Constitutional Court (Concourt) will tomorrow deliver its ruling in the case in which MDC-Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa is challenging President Mnangagwa's victory in the July 30 harmonised elections. Chief Justice Luke Malaba - sitting with eight other Concourt judges - reserved judgment after hearing arguments from all the parties involved in the matter.

The court said it required time to decide on the case before deferring judgment to tomorrow at 2pm.

The decision of the court will put an end to the MDC-Alliance challenge.

South Africa-based lawyer Mrs Tambudzai Gonese-Manjonjo said if the court finds the results by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to be credible, the inauguration will be conducted within 48 hours of the judgment.

"If the Constitutional Court confirms ZEC results, President Mnangagwa will be declared winner. His inauguration should be done within 48 hours of the judgment.

"If the court finds that none of the candidates got the 50 percent plus one vote threshold, a run-off will be ordered. In the event that the court invalidates the election process, then a rerun will be ordered within 60 days," said Mrs Gonese-Manjonjo.

The nine-member Bench started by shutting out three candidates who had violated the rules of the Constitutional Court by trying to sneak in their petitions disguising as respondents in the matter.

Messrs Elton Mangoma, Noah Manyika and Daniel Shumba were cited as respondents together with 18 other losing presidential candidates but instead of filing opposing affidavits, they decided to argue their own cases as aggrieved losers in violation of the rules of the court.

The court found that the trio was trying to sneak its own petitions through the back door before expunging their papers from the court record.

Two others, who had already chickened out, Harry Peter Wilson and Willard Mugadza, were also ruled to be improperly before the court at the preliminary stage.

"The unanimous decision of this court is that the papers filed by the fifth, sixth, 17th, 20th and 22nd respondents are not properly before the court.

"Accordingly, it is ordered that the papers be expunged from the record. Reasons shall be contained in the main judgment," ruled Chief Justice Malaba.

Mr Chamisa alleges electoral fraud and malpractices during the elections in which President Mnangagwa won with 50,67 percent of the total vote.

Mr Chamisa only managed 44,3 percent.

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

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

President Mnangagwa, 21 losing presidential candidates and ZEC were all cited as respondents in the high-profile petition.

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.

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

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

He further argued that the intention by Mr Chamisa's lawyers to issue out 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 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.

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