Disqualified candidates turn to court

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PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s push for harmonised elections to be held by July 31 has suffered another blow after several disqualified candidates approached the Electoral Court seeking the reconvening of the nomination courts.

NQOBILE BHEBHE

Hundreds of aspiring candidates were last Friday disqualified by nomination courts throughout the country for various reasons.

The deluge of protests filed at the Bulawayo High Court sitting as a electoral court is likely to interfere with the already tight election calendar.

According to documents gleaned by Southern Eye, the applications were filed by disqualified candidates from Zanu PF, MDC-T, MDC and Zapu.
The applicants claim there were “gross irregularities” encountered during the nomination process.

The deadline for appeals at the Electoral Court – a product of the new Constitution – expired on Tuesday.

MDC lodged at least 39 complaints from aspiring House of Assembly and local government candidates.

Dumiso Dabengwa’s Zapu had three while Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T had a single appeal.

All the applicants want the nomination courts in their respective constituencies to reconvene.

A Zanu PF official in Lupane East, Janet Mpofu, who was hoping to contest as a councillor, had her papers rejected as she produced a marriage certificate a day after the close of the nomination court.

Mpofu had to travel 90km back to her rural home to fetch her marriage certificate and only returned to the nomination court at 2am on Saturday.

MDC candidates cited Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairperson Justice Rita Makarau, ZEC and Mugabe as first, second and third respondents respectively. The MDC appeal covers all its aspiring candidates nationwide.

The applicants, Tongai Kwanda, Locardia Mupambwa and Langton Mugudubi and 36 others want nomination courts to resit in Chinhoyi, Maphisa, Filabusi, Zvishavane and Beitbridge.

They want their disqualification set aside and that the “respondents be ordered to cause the nomination courts to sit in Chinhoyi, Maphisa, Filabusi, Zvishabane and Beitbridge to consider the papers filed by the various appellants who are parties to this appeal.”

According to the court papers Kwanda, Mupambwa and Mugudubi were registered voters in wards within Chihnoyi constituency.

However, Kwanda transferred from Uzumba constituency to Hurungwe East on the sitting of the nomination court while Mupambwa and Mugudubi had also transferred from Chinhoyi to Zvimba West (June 25) and from Gokwe to Hurungwe Central respectively.

“ Second, third and fourth applicants thereafter appeared at the nomination court in Chinhoyi and were refused the permission to file their nominations papers in accordance with the law on the bases that they were not registered in their wards and constituencies,” MDC lawyers Cheda and Partners said.

“This is not correct in that they indeed registered in their respective wards and constituencies.

“The problem was with the nomination court in that it had in its possession an outdated voters roll and it was not the fault of the applicants that the nomination court did not have in its possession the current voters roll and therefore unlawfully rejected acceptance of second, third and fourth applicants’ papers.”

Twelve other applicants were barred from submitting their papers for local government elections in Maphisa.

Nine applicants had intended to file nomination papers in Zvishavane Runde constituency.

Three aspiring candidate in Beitbridge were said to have arrived at the nomination court late.