Friday 11 August 2023


LEGISLATIVE watchdog, Veritas, has called on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to remove MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora’s name from the ballot paper for presidential candidates to avoid confusing voters.

On Monday, Mwonzora withdrew from the presidential race citing an unfair electoral playing field tilted in favour of the ruling Zanu PF party.

Mwonzora later wrote to Zec to have his name removed from the ballot paper, but the electoral management body said it was too late, citing section 107(1) of the Electoral Act.

In a statement, Zec said presidential candidates could only withdraw their candidature by way of a written notice to the chief elections officer no later than 21 days before polling day.

In its Bill Watch titled: Withdrawal of Presidential Candidate, Veritas, however, said section 107(1) did not apply in Mwonzora’s case.

“Since the reason for section 107(1) does not apply, the section does not apply either and should not be invoked to prevent Mwonzora from withdrawing,” Veritas said.

“If his name continues to appear on the presidential ballot papers, voters may vote for him in the mistaken belief that he still wants to be elected.

“If they do vote for him they will be voting for a candidate who has renounced the election.  Their votes will be as futile as if they had spoiled their papers.”

Meanwhile, the Election Resource Centre (ERC) has also raised concern over the courts becoming a key player in the upcoming elections.

“The litigation is emanating from all candidates, and an unprecedented amount from Zanu PF and its functionaries and proxies,” ERC said.

ERC said the unprecedented levels of electoral litigation “tell us that something is seriously wrong — because courts are platforms for dispute resolution, and that there is little to no faith in the management of elections outside judicial sanction.”

“The net effect is that courts are now deciding the election, that is, who participates and who does not, and ultimately who is elected and who is not. This is disenfranchising.”

Zec is a respondent in several cases over the way it handled the nomination exercise.

Self-exiled presidential aspirant, Saviour Kasukuwere, is back and forth fighting to have his name included on the ballot paper after his disqualification.

In an interview, Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum executive director, Musa Kika, said the involvement of courts in elections had a negative impact on the credibility of the polls.

“It is unfortunate that our courts are taking centre stage in these elections particularly because in the context of Zimbabwe we cannot trust our courts to render fair rulings on the basis of the law,” Kika said. Newsday


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