Mnangagwa defence target credibility of Chamisa’s expert witness

PRESIDENT-ELECT Emmerson Mnangagwa has gone for the jugular, throwing below-the-belt punches towards MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa’s team of technical experts led by Kenyan Edgar Ouko Otumba, dismissing him as a statistician with no qualification whatsoever in politics, but is a guru in sugar board related matters.

BY CHARLES LAITON

Mnangagwa, who in his heads of argument is seeking to have the courts uphold his election into office picked on Otumba, said his evidence before the courts was questionable and lacked integrity, setting the stage for a nail-bitting Constitutional Court (ConCourt) hearing which opens tomorrow.

“His [Otumba] analysis progresses from data of questionable integrity and sources. Some of the figures are of mysterious origins. He relates to sample-based extrapolations predicated on behavioural patterns that have no scientific precision. He makes inconclusive findings as regards the possible causes of the alleged variances and anomalies. His evidence is not proof beyond reasonable doubt,” Mnangagwa said.

“The matter at issue is the actual numbers in the election. While Dr Otumba is clearly an expert in mathematics and statistics, there is nothing in his knowledge, skill and experience to suggest that he has any scientific, technical or other specialised knowledge on elections.

“According to his CV, the only election he appears to have advised on was in 2005, and related to the election of directors of a sugar board … that last sentence regarding his 100% success rate shows that Dr Otumba is aware that the experience required is that of analysing elections, and not just looking at numbers …”

The Zanu PF party leader also urged the ConCourt to dismiss Chamisa’s application challenging his election into the presidential office, arguing that the necessary jurisdictional facts to trigger a section 93(3) of constitutional inquiry have not been established.

“… On this further basis, the application must be dismissed with costs at the legal practitioner and client scale. This is not only because the application is fatally and incurably defective, but also because the application lodged is not sufficient to establish the jurisdictional circumstances required by section 93(3) of the Constitution, which enjoins this court to declare whether anyone was duly elected as the President of Zimbabwe,” Mnangagwa said.

Image result for Edgar Ouko Otumba
Kenyan Edgar Ouko Otumba

In his submissions, Mnangagwa also urged the court to disregard and strike off notice of oppositions filed by Noah Manyika, Daniel Shumba, Violet Mariyacha and Elton Mangoma on the basis that their notices were disguised applications.

“We move that the fifth, seventeenth, eighteenth, and twentieth (Manyika, Shumba, Mariyacha and Mangoma) respondents’ notices of opposition be struck off. These notices of opposition are in reality disguised applications by aggrieved losing candidates in the elections. The disguised applications have been lodged outside the peremptory time period provided for in the Constitution and in a form and manner that is impermissible,” he said.

The Zanu PF leaders again maintained Chamisa had not filed a proper application before the ConCourt, arguing the MDC Alliance leader’s petition had been filed out of time and, as such, the court must dismiss the same.

“There is no valid challenge to the declaration of the first respondent [Mnangagwa] as the winner of the elections. A challenge to this election of the President must be lodged within seven days after the date on which the results were declared. This means that the application must be filed and served within the prescribed seven days. The prescribed seven days are calendar days as opposed to court days,” Mnangagwa said.

“… The application is invalid for the further reason that it was issued without a valid notice of motion. Rule 16(1) of the rules provides that an application to the Constitutional Court shall be in form CCZ1 … the notice of motion did not have the respondents’ addresses for service … the application is, in any event, deemed to have been abandoned. Rule 9(5) requires that the applicant, following service of the application, must file with the registrar proof of service within two days of the service. Failing compliance with rule 9(5) the application is deemed abandoned in terms of rule 9(6).”

Mnangagwa further urged the court to dismiss Chamisa’s application on the basis that he had approached the court with “dirty hands” after allegedly “scandalising” the court by publicly declaring that “our courts are an appendage of the first respondent’s [Mnangagwa’s] party, and are involved in a conspiracy to undermine his perceived certain ascendency to the presidency of Zimbabwe”.

The MDC Alliance youth leader recently petitioned the ConCourt seeking nullification of the presidential votes claiming that he garnered 2 674 032 votes against Mnangagwa, whom he said obtained 2 008 639.

Chamisa made the claims in his founding affidavit and his move halted the inauguration of Mnangagwa, who was set to be ushered into the presidential office on August 12, 2018.

In his application, Chamisa claims about 700 000 votes are unaccounted for and, therefore, dubious. He said there were a number of irregularities which included double-counting of votes and embarrassing mathematical errors which are significant to affect the outcome of the polls.

Chamisa also argued that the election was not held in line with the constitutional requirements, citing abuse of State media, institution of traditional healers and clear manipulation of laws by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to favour Mnangagwa.

But Mnangagwa said: “The extent to which the media had an influence over the manner in which the people voted has not been established. The applicant’s conclusion remains conjectural … this ground cannot be sustained. It had no effect on the results.”

Meanwhile, Zec and its chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba have also filed their court papers supporting their actions which ushered Mnangagwa into power.

Source: News Day