ZANU PF politburo member Jonathan Moyo was yesterday left in the cold after the Bulawayo High Court set aside the decision by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to recount votes in Tsholotsho North constituency.
The seat was won by MDC-T candidate Roselyn Nkomo on July 31, but Moyo had written to ZEC asking for a recount citing irregularities in the manner the vote counting was conducted in the constituency.
ZEC had scheduled the recount for last Wednesday before Nkomo succefully sought a High Court interdict on Tuesday. Yesterday Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Lawrence Kamocha blocked the exercise on the basis that the decision would be in violation of sections 67 (A) and 70 (4) of the Electoral Court.
“The second (ZEC) respondent’s decision to undertake a vote recount of Tsholotsho North is hereby set aside on the basis that the respondent’s decision is ultra vires the provisions of Section 67A of the Electoral Act and that the decision is in violation of Section 70A of the Electoral Act, Chapter 2.13 and therefore unlawful,” the order reads.
Section 67 (A) provides, among other things, that within 48 hours after a constituency elections officer has declared a candidate duly elected, any political party or candidate who contested the election may request a recount of the votes cast in one or more polling stations in the constituency. Section 70 (4) provides that for an election packet to be opened, there is need for an order from the Electoral Court.
Nkomo’s legal representative Kucaca Phulu from Phulu Ncube Legal Practitioners, said both ZEC and Moyo were not represented at the hearing despite being served with Tuesday’s High Court order interdicting a recount initially scheduled for Wednesday.
“ZEC had, however, written a letter to us saying they were not opposed to the court challenge,” Phulu said.
He said the other two candidates who contested in the constituency were in court and indicated that they were not opposed to the application.
A city lawyer said Nkomo was now the legitimate winner of the Tsholotsho North constituency unless Moyo filed a petition to the Electoral Court.
“The petition is not easy to sustain because he (Moyo) would have to show that there was an electoral malpractice and how it affected his votes,” the lawyer said.
Moyo and his lawyers were yesterday not immediately available for comment.