ZIMBABWE: PETITION/THE HERALD/17/8/18 SABANews 1
HARARE – The Chairperson of the ZIMBABWE Electoral Commission has prepared a critical response to the opposition petition against the recent presidential election result in the country.
Justice PRISCILLA CHIGUMBA is respondent number 23 in the application filed by MDC ALLIANCE Candidate NELSON CHAMISA, who accuses the veteran judge of stealing his victory for President EMMERSON MNANGAGWA.
Justice CHIKUMBA says the appeal is fatally and incurably defective, while the Mr CHAMISA has also failed to effect valid service of his application within the prescribed period of SEVEN days.
She says the court should strike the application off the roll since there is no basis to conclude she violated the constitutional and electoral laws in the supervision of the 30 JULY General Elections.
Mr CHAMISA has put together what his head lawyer, Advocate THABANI MPOFU, says is a powerful team of legal experts who include some from neighbouring SOUTH AFRICA.
He submitted his petition to the Constitutional Court last FRIDAY evening, and the case hearing should commence on 22 AUGUST.
Mr CHAMISA says since the Electoral Commission announced a voter turnout of 72 percent of slightly above FIVE-MILLION-600-THOUSAND, meaning the votes cast should be slightly more than FOUR-MILLION-32-THOUSAND.
Yet, he says, the Commission announced a total FOUR-MILLION-775-THOUSAND-640 voters and it issued a compact disc with a total FOUR-MILLION-774-THOUSAND-878 voters.
He says either of the TWO figures leaves a difference of more than 700-THOUSAND ballots that cannot be accounted for.
He claims the Commission did not follow processes of the collation and announcement of the results, processes meant to establish the credibility of any results to be announced.
Mr CHAMISA says the process is constitutional and statutory, and there can be no departure from its demands – nor is the court in a position to dispense with strict adherence to the law.
He further claims the results announced by the Electoral Commission themselves suffer from gross mathematical errors in a manner that affects their validity; and because they are material, they materially affect the declaration by the Commission Chairperson.
However, Justice CHIGUMBA says Mr CHAMISA has no valid application against election of President MNANGAGWA as Head of State – because he failed to comply with court rules and filed an incomplete record to render his petition invalid.
She says the rules demand the application to be filed with the Registrar of the Constitutional Court and served on the respondents within SEVEN days after the date of announcement of the election results.
Justice CHIGUMBA says the founding papers of Mr CHAMISA do not prove an irregularity as he alleges and all he makes are bare allegations, from which he makes the conclusion that the Electoral Commission rigged the Presidential Election.
She says if the MDC ALLIANCE Candidate had agents at the unidentified polling stations he claims did not have the figures displayed, the agents would have had V-11 forms before the returns for the polling stations were posted outside the voting booth.
Nevertheless, Justice CHIGUMBA says Mr CHAMISA does not present his V-11 forms and argue that the V-11 forms the electoral commission has are different from what he has.
She says on the other hand, if he did not have polling agents at the nameless polling stations how does he then conclude that the alleged failure to affix a return in terms of the law occurred or resulted in the alleged rigging at the unidentified polling stations.
Justice CHIGUMA says in the context of a challenge to an election return, it is not enough for the opposition candidate to give broad, sweeping statements as basis for the relief he seeks.
The ZIMBABWE Electoral Commission Chairperson says the MDC ALLIANCE Leader must show in his papers how the issue he raises as a ground for his challenge affected the tally of votes, but he fails to do so./Sabanews/cam