Tuesday 21 August 2018


PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has said the election petition filed by MDC Alliance presidential candidate Mr Nelson Chamisa challenging his victory in last month’s harmonised elections is an abuse of the court process designed to delay his inauguration and hold the nation at ransom.

Mr Chamisa is challenging President Mnangagwa’s 50,8 percent win in the July 30 polls, against his 44,3 percent of the vote.

In his petition, Mr Chamisa accused the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) of non-compliance with the law.

He also claimed that the numbers announced by Zec chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba did not tally, arguing this was a deliberate manipulation of the poll results in favour of President Mnangagwa.
The full bench of the Constitutional Court led by Chief Justice Luke Malaba will hear the petition tomorrow, which will be streamed live from the apex court.

In his heads of argument, President Mnangagwa, who is being represented by Advocates Lewis Uriri and Thembinkosi Magwaliba, will argue that his election cannot be vacated on the basis of fanciful and yet unfounded “numbers do not lie” sloganeering.

“We submit that…the application is both adjectivally and substantively still born,” said the President’s lawyers referring to petition, which they said was made up of an uncompleted record. “It is an abuse of court process intended to delay the first respondent’s inevitable ascendancy to the presidency.

“It is meant to hold the first respondent (President Mnangagwa) and the nation at ransom to achieve purposes and objects unconnected to the litigation.”
President Mnangagwa’s lawyers are also seeking to bring the court’s attention to Section 93 (3) of the Constitution, arguing that proper reading of the cited provision should result in the court making a finding that Mr Chamisa’s petition is not properly before the court.

“In this regard, the court is urged to find that the necessary jurisdictional facts have not been alleged and substantiated,” they said. “The onus on the applicant (Mr Chamisa) has not been discharged.

“In dismissing the application, this court must declare that the elections were held in accordance with the laws of Zimbabwe; that the elections were free, fair and credible and reflect the free electoral and political expression of the majority of the people that voted, and that the first respondent, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, be declared to have been duly elected as the President of Zimbabwe.”
Zec and Justice Chigumba, who are being represented by Mr Charles Nyika and Mr Tawanda Kanengoni of Nyika, Kanengoni and Partners, also filed their heads of argument.
The electoral commission is singing from the same canticle with President Mnangagwa to bolster their case.

The electoral body stressed the point that Mr Chamisa’s allegations that there was an irregular declaration of results contrary to the provisions of the Electoral Act, was made with no mention of the specific statutory provisions that the electoral body is alleged to have violated.

“The rest of the applicant’s founding papers follow the same pattern of imprecision and lack of evidence,” said Zec lawyers. They argued that the manner in which Mr Chamisa’s petition was prepared failed to meet the standard required for such matters.

“It is entirely composed of imprecise allegations of electoral malpractice,” said the Zec lawyers. “It gives no evidence meeting the standard of proof required in matters of this nature and thus the applicant fails to discharge the onus imposed upon him in such matters and cannot be entitled to any relief sought before this court.”

Mr Chamisa filed his heads of argument on Saturday in which he argued that Zec has failed to explain President Mnangagwa’s vote tally.

“Zec now admits that there were patent errors in the results,” said Adv Thabani Mpofu, who is leading Mr Chamisa’s legal team. “It subsequently published revised results, without explanation. The published results reduced Mr (President) Mnangagwa’s margin of victory to 50,65 percent, or just 31 830 votes over the threshold.”

Mr Chamisa’s lawyer further argued that the nullification of President Mnangagwa’s win was justified on the basis that the irregularities in the election process denied Zimbabweans their right to free, fair and transparent elections.

Mr Chamisa brought in three South African lawyers Advocates Dali Mpofu, Tembeka Ngcukaitobi and Jerremy Gauntlet to strengthen his legal team, while Zanu-PF has put together a 12-member legal team to deal with the electoral petition. Herald


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