Friday, 31 August 2018

CHEBUNDO CHALLENGES BLACKMAN VICTORY

MDC Alliance losing candidate for Kwekwe Central National Assembly seat, Mr Blessing Chebundo, has approached the Electoral Court challenging MP-elect Mr Masango Matambanadzo’s victory.

He is accusing Mr Matambanadzo (National Patriotic Front (NPF) of vote-buying and abusing the logo of the MDC Alliance to win the July 30 polls.
Mr Matambanadzo, nicknamed Blackman, won the plebiscite after garnering 7 578 votes while Mr Chebundo got 7 127 votes.

Mr Chebundo, through his lawyers Chitere, Chidawanyika and Partners, filed an election petition at the Bulawayo High Court citing Mr Matambanadzo as the respondent.

He alleged that the polls were tainted with a lot of irregularities and electoral malpractices.

Mr Chebundo is seeking a court order nullifying the results of the July 30 harmonised elections for Kwekwe Central constituency and declaring the National Assembly seat vacant to pave way for a by-election within 90 days.

In his founding affidavit, Mr Chebundo said the grounds upon which the petition is based include alleged vote buying and exploitation of State resources by the respondent to further his campaign programmes.

Mr Chebundo accused Mr Matambanadzo of using an ambulance bought through the Constituency Development Fund during his tenure as Zanu-PF MP, to secure votes.

“The respondent engaged in massive vote buying in the Kwekwe Central constituency and this unduly influenced voters and had the effect of swaying the votes in his favour. He enticed the electorate by giving them money and handing out food hampers, which included rice and cooking oil, to ensure that they voted for him. This was rampant in Wards Six, Seven, Eight and Nine of Kwekwe Central constituency,” he said.

Mr Chebundo said Mr Matambanadzo fraudulently misrepresented himself to the electorate by constantly purporting to be working with MDC Alliance losing presidential candidate Mr Nelson Chamisa.

“He distributed Nelson Chamisa’s cards and insinuated that NPF was one of the seven political parties that formed the MDC Alliance. He misled the electorate by alleging that he was the MDC Alliance candidate for the National Assembly seat in Kwekwe Central whereas I was the party’s senatorial candidate,” he said.

Mr Chebundo said his closest rival was unfairly declared a winner notwithstanding the electoral malpractices he allegedly engaged in during the period leading to the elections.

“The degree of non-compliance with the Electoral Act and the Electoral Code of Conduct did affect the outcome of the elections and for this reason the results must be set aside,” he said.

Mr Chebundo said his rival violated the provisions of the Electoral Act by engaging in corrupt practices which included undue influence, bribery and impersonation.

“The irregularities and malpractices attributed to the respondent are extremely grave to be ignored by this honourable court as they seriously impacted on the outcome of the elections. The invariable consequence or inference is that the people of Kwekwe Central constituency never exercised their democratic and constitutionally protected rights to freely choose their representative in Parliament,” he said.

Mr Chebundo argued that the failure by the respondent to observe the provisions of the law governing elections led to further violations of the general principles of democratic elections as enshrined in the constitution.

Another MDC Alliance candidate for Bulawayo South Mr Muvirimi Francis Mangwendeza is also challenging the results of the recently-held elections in which he lost to Zanu-PF’s Cde Rajesh Kumara Indukant Modi.

In his petition filed at the Bulawayo High Court, Mr Mangwendeza, citing Cde Modi and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) as respondents, alleges that the polls were tainted with a lot 
of irregularities.

He is also seeking a court order nullifying the results of the July 30 harmonised elections for Bulawayo South seat and declaring the seat vacant. The hearing dates for the two petitions have not yet been set. Chronicle

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