Zimbabwe: Decision Day... All Eyes On the Constitutional Court Bench

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

The Constitutional Court (Concourt) is today expected to deliver judgment on the election petition by MDC-Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa contesting President Mnangagwa's victory in the July 30 harmonised elections.

The petition hearing is the first to be streamed live from the courtroom in the history of the country.

President Mnangagwa romped to victory with 50,67 percent of the total votes cast, followed by Mr Chamisa, who garnered 44,3 percent.

If the court endorses President Mnangagwa's victory, he is expected to be inaugurated within 48 hours as postulated under the Electoral Act which has to be by 2pm on Sunday.

The ruling of the court will be final and cannot be appealed.

A nine-member Concourt Bench on Wednesday heard arguments by counsels for all parties involved in the case in which Mr Chamisa is seeking a determination of the petition in terms of the provisions of Section 93 (3) of the Constitution.

Through his lawyers, led by Advocate Thabani Mpofu, Mr Chamisa has asked the court to invalidate President Mnangagwa's victory on the basis of allegations of electoral fraud and malpractices.

He is also seeking the court to declare him the winner, saying the poll was not conducted in accordance with the law and was not "free and fair". Mr Chamisa, however, failed to provide evidence to back his claims.

But President Mnangagwa, who is being represented by a team led by Adv Lewis Uriri, argued that there was no valid election petition challenging his victory.

He wants the court to dismiss the Mr Chamisaaaaa's application and uphold his victory saying a dismissal order was appropriate given the fact that the petition was void of evidence and 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 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 was for the court to throw out the application.

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

This averment was echoed by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission lawyer Mr Tawanda Kanengoni.

In his submissions, Mr Kanengoni debunked the statistical evidence alluded to by Mr Chamisa in his founding papers to prove there were no mathematical errors made by the electoral body sufficient to change the results of the presidential poll.

He pointed to the court that Mr Chamisa had no evidence to buttress his rigging claims, arguing the figures he sought to rely on in the application were plucked from nowhere.

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