Mwonzora’s MDC-T suffers setback as Court rejects bid to register its members

Prof. Lovemore Madhuku

HARARE – On Tuesday, the MDC-T (Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai) lost its attempt to compel the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to register 87 of its aspiring Members of Parliament (MPs) who were rejected by the nomination court on June 21 for failing to pay candidate fees.

Justice Webster Chinamhora of the Harare High Court, sitting as an Electoral Court, ruled that he had no jurisdiction to address the matter.

ZEC’s lawyer, Tawanda Kanengoni, argued that the proper procedure for dissatisfied candidates was to file an appeal to the Electoral Court within four days, rather than presenting an urgent chamber application as a party. Kanengoni contended that the MDC-T, as a political party, did not have the right to challenge the nomination of candidates and that the appeal process was already underway for the individuals involved.

The MDC-T, represented by Prof Lovemore Madhuku, maintained that the matter was appropriately before the court, citing provisions in the Electoral Act. Madhuku argued that political parties had the right to approach the court and that the Electoral Court must handle all matters.

The MDC-T’s candidates were rejected because the party attempted a “centralized payment” system, where it sought to pay the nomination fees for all its candidates in a single transaction, instead of individually providing money to each candidate as other parties did. The nomination court required MP candidates to pay US$1,000 or the equivalent in Zimbabwe dollars.

The MDC-T has not disclosed how many candidates successfully filed nomination papers for council or MP positions. The party acknowledged the diminishing chances of resolving the situation but expressed disagreement with how ZEC handled the matter. Party spokesman Witness Dube emphasized the importance of handling such matters more effectively in the future.

Zimbabweans are scheduled to vote in general elections on August 23, and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission intends to publish the final list of candidates by June 30.

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