OVERVIEW: ‘If Mnangagwa claims to have won the vote he should give us the figure,’ says MDC lawyer

Thabani Mpofu

All eyes are on Zimbabwe as the country’s Constitutional Court hears the petition lodged by opposition leader Nelson Chamisa in his bid to overturn President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s victory in the July 30 elections. Get the live updates here

Zimbabwe

Thembinkosi Magwaliba, representing Mnangagwa, dismissed claims that the opposition had produced any evidence of fraud.

“This application was not seriously done. The applicant is clearly flippant,” he said.

“In the final analysis it is correct to submit that the allegations… have not been established.”

Nine judges, led by Chief Justice Luke Malaba, are hearing the case in Harare, where the court premises were given high security. – AFP


19:00

WRAP:

Zimbabwe’s opposition argued in the country’s top court on Wednesday that the presidential election results must be thrown out, alleging that only “massive doctoring” of the vote had kept Emmerson Mnangagwa in office.

Lawyers for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) launched a blistering attack on Mnangagwa, the ruling Zanu-PF party and the election commission over the July 30 ballot – Zimbabwe’s first election since the ousting of Robert Mugabe last year.

“There is a massive cover-up. There has been a massive doctoring of evidence,” Thabani Mpofu, representing the MDC, told the court.

Mnangagwa, Mugabe’s former ally, won the election with 50.8% of the vote – just enough to meet the 50% threshold needed to avoid a run-off against MDC leader Nelson Chamisa, who scored 44.3%.

“There were at least 16 polling stations with identical results – identical results for Chamisa, identical results for Mnangagwa. It is like a kid who was playing with the figures,” said Mpofu.

He argued that irregularities wiped out the narrow margin by which Mnangagwa had avoided a second-round vote.

“A run-off is unavoidable. For now, the election must be set aside,” Mpofu said, adding that “we have a false ZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission). We have a lying ZEC.” – AFP


18:58

This marks the end of the live updates from the Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe

18:58

The court reserves judgement to 14:00 on August 24, 2018

18:56

Mpofu is told by the Chief Justice that his time is up

18:56

The validity of the election must be set aside by ZEC’s own admission that it is not sure of the figures that the first respondent garnered

18:54

If Mnangagwa claims to have won the election he should give us the figure, says Mpofu

18:52

ZEC has not denied that unaccounted votes came from non existent polling stations, says Mpofu

18:51

Mpofu: The results announced in Mbire and Rushinga do not tally and some 40 000 parliamentary votes are not accounted for

18:48

Mpofu: ZEC changed its results before any application was brought before the court and also changed the results after the application has been filed, therefore, it cannot be said to be true that ZEC changed its results in response to the election.

The law requires that results to be announced should be final. Results that were changed three times in two weeks cannot be said to reflect a credible election


18:45

Mpofu says the lodging of the application was done on time and the sheriff was given papers on time to serve the respondents

18:42

We rely clearly on the analysis of the expert so the first respondent to say the expert only knows about fish when Dr Outumba gave evidence in the Raila  Odinga court case is totally unacceptable, says Mpofu

18:40

The number of teachers referred to were by unions who approached the courts and got an order so the number can be accounted for, says Mpofu.

18:34

ZEC must be satisfied that there is a winning candidate so it must be satisfied that there is candidate who has 50% plus one vote to be declared winner, says Mpofu

18:31

The applicant has taken ZEC figures and voters roll and shown the inaccuracy of the results announced, says Mpofu

18:30

There is a mathematical challenge and when ZEC starts revising its own figures the presumption of irregularities fall away and become fact that results are not genuine therefore the result must be set aside

18:27

Mpofu says Mnangagwa is so scared to deal with the applicant’s case

18:26

Advocate Thabani Mpofu says he wants 20 minutes to reply

18:25

Chamisa’s attorney now replying

18:21

Asked by judge Rita Makarau why there is a difference between presidential and parliamentary votes cast, Kanengoni says voters are not obliged to vote in all elections for the president, member of parliament and councilor

18:20

Kanengoni says all the V11 forms were signed by all the party agents at the respective polling stations

18:17

Kanengoni replies that it did happen but they only took two samples that are backed by V11 forms

18:17

But judge Chiweshe says they were 16 as alluded to by Chamisa’s attorney

18:15

Kanengoni admits that there were similar returns at two polling stations but argues that the stations are in different areas

18:08

The first respondent won the application, says Kanengoni. The applicant did not ask for a recount within the stipulated and we have to rely on figures released by the ZEC

18:07

Kanengoni replies that upon receipt of the data, ZEC subjected the data to analysis and recorded a variance of 0.1% and that does not change the result of the election

18:05

The Chief Justice asks why the ZEC abandoned figures that it initially announced

18:01

No police officer has come before the court with an affidavit to say that I was disenfranchised of my right to vote through postal voting, adds Kanengoni

17:59

The wearing of the scarf by the electoral commission chief way before the sitting of the nomination court cannot be used as evidence to say that there was bias on the part of the electoral commission chief, says Kanengoni

17:56

“The commission has not been changing the results of the election. A proper analysis of the election cannot be done through samples but  can only be made through real data therefore the election result should not be overturned because there is no basis to do that,” says Kanengoni

17:54

There is only a variance of 0.1% of the results announced and that does not change the validity of the elections, says Kanengoni.

17:53

The allegation that there were many assisted voters is not linked in any way to the result of the election. In any case ZEC’s role was only to facilitate that everyone cast his or her vote, says Kanengoni

17:46

The V11 forms were also signed by all polling agents including MDC Alliance agents, says Kanengoni

17:40

Kanengoni: We have put the complete V11 form as opposed to what the applicant says was an incomplete V11

17:38

Kanengoni: The affidavit of Joseph Madzudzo that alleges that there was forging of figures on V11s was dealt with in papers before the court as opposed to what the applicant’s lawyers said in their submissions.

17:34

Kanengoni: The applicant did not provide the V11 forms which is the primary data. The onus is on the applicant to prove any over voting in order to debunk what was announced by ZEC

17:33

Kanengoni: There is no particularity on how the alleged rigging took place. The applicant did not attach any evidence to substantiate his claims

17:28

We don’t know how the applicant compiled his data but the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is convinced that there is no polling station where there was some over-voting, says the ZEC lawyer

17:25

There is no discrepancy between what was announced and the voter turnout, says Kanengoni

17:25

ZEC did make provisions for people who wanted to be ZEC officials on Election Day to vote, therefore, the 40 000 figure is out, says Kanengoni

17:22

It is not known who the 40 000 teachers referred would have voted for, argues Kanengoni

17:22

Kanengoni: There is no indication that all the teachers who were deployed as election officials were registered, says Kanengoni

17:21

The only variance is the total figure, says Kanengoni

17:17

The figures presented by Chamisa showing a variance of figures has been mischaracterised by the applicant

17:16

The ZEC attorney says Chamisa’s lawyers filed an incomplete application with missing papers

17:10

Kanengoni says the applicant tried to serve papers on the 10th of August without the assistance of the sheriff

17:09

Kanengoni: The definition of of lodging refers to the filing and serving of papers through the sheriff by an applicant, therefore, the applicant cannot deny that he filed his papers out of time

17:08

ZEC lawyers now arguing

Tawanda Kanengoni is the lead ZEC lawyer


16:44

Court adjourns  for 10 minutes


16:36

The law in Zimbabwe allows voters to be assisted by people of their choice and there is proof of coercion, says Uriri

16:24

It is our prayer that this case be dismissed because at the end of this hearing no one knows how many votes should be subtracted from the first respondent as no proper grounds have been established by the applicant, say Magwaliba

16:23

Magwaliba: The application was not served within the proper period of 7 days as stipulated by the law. Lodging an application and serving of papers to respondents should be done within those 7 days but the applicant chooses to blame the sheriff

16:19

Allegations of bribery referred to in the heads of arguments have not been established, says Magwaliba

16:18

Dr Outumba is not a neutral expert whose evidence should be disregarded, says Magwaliba

16:15

No one knows whether 40 000 teachers were disenfranchised of their rights to vote as no one approached the courts to complain, says Magwaliba

16:14

The applicant does not say how many votes he lost as a result of the design of the ballot papers, says Magwaliba

16:13

Magwaliba: The applicant does not deny that all parties were given sample ballots during multi-party liaison committee meetings

16:11

The applicant did not audit the voters roll, adds Magwaliba

16:11

The electoral playing field was very even, says Magwaliba

16:09

ZEC denies that it gave any phone numbers to the ruling party and first respondent, says Magwaliba

16:08

No evidence led by applicant to suggest that some unnamed traditional leaders marshaled villagers to polling stations, says Magwaliba

16:07

The applicant did not write any single letter to the state media complaining of a skewed media coverage, says Magwaliba

16:05

Magwaliba says the averments cannot stand because the affidavit referred to by Mpofu deposed by Magunje was not served on ZEC

16:04

The only admissible figures are those that have been produced by ZEC which translate to 50.67% in favour of President Mnangagwa, says Uriri before deferring proceedings to his colleague Magwaliba

16:01


15:59

You need direct evidence to set aside the poll results, say Uriri

15:55

The voter turnout as declared by ZEC was 85.1% and that accounts for the 700 000 votes alluded to by the applicant, argues Uriri

15:54

Uriri: The integrity of Chamisa’s figures cannot be vouched for and they have been created as they did not originate from the official keeper of those figures

15:54

Uriri: What materials did he use and where did he get those materials

15:50


15:49

Where does the applicant get the figures when he has not approached the keepers of those figures and source documents, says Uriri

15:48

Evidence of ballot papers to each polling station and the number of ballot papers used at each polling are also available, says Uriri

15:46

Uriri: The evidence of electoral residue is still available

15:46

Chamisa should have applied to the electoral court to unseal the election residue within 48 hours as stipulated by the law, says Uriri

15:43

The applicant must bring to court the object that is alleged to be primary source of the allegations of voter fraud, says Uriri

15:41

Mnangagwa’s lawyer Uriri says the application is improperly before the court as the documents were not properly served on Mnangagwa

15:41


15:39

Court session has resumed and Mnangagwa’s lawyer Lewis Uriri takes to the stand to oppose the Chamisa submissions.

15:18

Policemen stand guard outside the courthouse in Harare, where the Zimbabwe Constitutional Court is hearing a petition by the main opposition seeking to overturn the results of the July 30 presidential elections. (Picture: AFP)

14:54

Chamisa’s lawyers in court said they had not been allowed to bring in electronic gadgets, either.

According to Veritas, a legal think tank based in Harare, the court can declare a winner or invalidate the election and call for a fresh election or make any other order it considers “just and appropriate.”

If the court upholds Mnangagwa’s win the inauguration would take place within 48 hours. This is not the first time the opposition has challenged election results in court.

Following the 2013 presidential election, then main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai filed a challenge but later withdrew it, claiming he would not get a fair hearing. The court declined his withdrawal and proceeded to rule on the case in favor of Mugabe. – AP


14:53

Mnangagwa and the electoral commission argue the opposition’s application should be dismissed on a technicality, saying it was filed too late and that papers were not properly served on respondents.

In his affidavit, Mnangagwa argues the court should not hear Chamisa’a application because he “scandalised” the court by claiming during political rallies that the judiciary was biased toward the ruling party, Zanu-PF.

Mnangagwa also accuses Chamisa of making “illusionary promises” to voters during campaign.

The case was being televised live by the state broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, but the courts ruled that the proceedings could not be livestreamed on social media.

Journalists and others accredited by the court were following proceedings from a giant television screen on the court premises, but they were not permitted to carry mobile phones or laptops. – AP


14:50

In Brief

Chamisa’s challenge claims the electoral commission bumped up Mnangagwa’s figures through double counts and the creation of “ghost” polling stations.

It also alleges that some polling stations recorded more voters than those registered to vote.

“It’s like a kid was playing with the figures,” a lawyer for the opposition, Thabani Mpofu, told the court. He alleged that 16 polling stations had identical results and that “massive doctoring” took place.

Chief Justice Luke Malaba, however, pressed the opposition for the original election results forms to back up their allegations: “We cannot act on generalities”. – AP


14:32

Court adjourns for lunch. Proceedings will resume in 40 minutes.

14:30

The sheriff had enough time to effect service on the first respondent but decided not to do anything and therefore the applicant cannot be penalised for someone’s dereliction of duty, says Mpofu

14:29

In brief

Zimbabwe’s opposition argued in the country’s top court Wednesday that the presidential election results must be thrown out, alleging that only “massive doctoring” of the vote had kept Emmerson Mnangagwa in office.

Lawyers for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) launched a blistering attack on the ruling Zanu-PF party and the election commission over the July 30 ballot – Zimbabwe’s first election since the ousting of Robert Mugabe last year.

“There is a massive cover-up. There has been a massive doctoring of evidence,” Thabani Mpofu, representing the MDC, told the court.

Mnangagwa, Mugabe’s former ally, won the election with 50.8% of the vote – just enough to meet the 50% threshold needed to avoid a run-off against MDC leader Nelson Chamisa, who scored 44.3%.

“There were at least 16 polling stations with identical results – identical result for Chamisa, identical results for Mnangagwa. It is like a kid who was playing with the figures,” said Mpofu.

He argued that irregularities wiped out the narrow margin by which Mnangagwa had avoided a second-round vote.

“A run-off is unavoidable. For now, the election must be set aside,” Mpofu said, adding that “we have a false ZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission). We have a lying ZEC.” – AFP


14:18

“If we were to say the first respondent is the elected president, how many votes did he garner?,” Mpofu asks

14:17


14:17

Mpofu says Mnangagwa and ZEC connived to undermine the constitution by rigging elections

14:11

ZEC violated the constitution and the Electoral Act by denying some Zimbabweans their right to vote, that effectively means ZEC threw President Mnangagwa under the bus, says Mpofu

14:06


14:03

The applicant had no reason to cause the opening of ballot boxes for a recount and is not obliged to do so, says Mpofu, especially when there is evidence placed before the court that figures released by ZEC were not genuine and consequently Mnangagwa did not win the election.

In that case there is no need for primary evidence


13:54

Mpofu says they are sitting over 9000 votes that do not require the opening of the residue because those votes came from ghost polling stations

13:50

Mpofu says the fulcrum of the applicant’s case is not premised on the residue

13:50

Chief Justice asks why Chamisa has not applied for ballot boxes to be opened within 48hrs stipulated by law

13:45

Mpofu says they could not have gathered all the eveidence in seven days hence they chose to dwell on systematic manipulation by ZEC

13:34

Mpofu reads an affidavit by one of the polling agents who says she was chased away from the polling station by the presiding officer and was only allowed to return after counting had been done and was asked to sign the V11 forms and she refused.

Mpofu adds that the agent then went home and was followed by unnamed men who had covered their faces with ashes who sodomised the polling agent’s husband


13:27

Mpofu says one of the affidavits he has from one Madzudzo shows that some people came with unpopulated V11 forms for him to sign after polling had already closed and he refused

13:25

This is evidence of manipulation after the process by ZEC, says Mpofu

13:20

Mpofu says there had been a massive cover up

13:20

The Chief Justice asks why original documents were not produced and why the applicant did not seek to have the ballot boxes opened

13:19

V11 forms produced in court by Mpofu show that they are signed, stamped but they have not been populated – meaning that they have no figures. Mpofu says this demonstrates some of the irregularities

13:16

The key case of the applicant is based on ZEC’s own figures, says Mpofu

13:15

ZEC has now come up with a figure that has not been verified, says Mpofu

13:15

Mpofu replies that there is no need to defer to what has been defined as secondary evidence when ZEC has accepted that their figures are not genuine

13:14

Chief Justice Luke Malaba asks why the applicant filed his case on secondary evidence when there is first and original evidence

13:12

Hashiti says once the mathematics is gone then there is no valid election process. ZEC has admitted flaws in figures that it announced and that should settle the matter

13:10

Hashiti says there was no valid election

13:09

Another Chamisa lawyer Sylvester Hashiti takes the stage and says the validity of the July 30 is being tested

13:08

The case stands to be determined on the basis of numbers. Numbers do not lie and a run off is unavoidable, says Mpofu

13:05

Mnangagwa filed his notice of opposition out of time, says Mpofu

13:05

The people of Zimbabwe have a right to a free and fair election, says Mpofu


13:03

Once an application has been lodged, the court assumes jurisdiction to hear the matter

13:03

The sheriff initially agreed to serve our papers but was instructed to do otherwise, says Mpofu

12:59

ZEC has changed the results three times and that cannot be accepted, says Mpofu

12:59

Mpofu: A verification of the presidential results is a verification of V23 but ZEC was verifying results at ward level

12:58

There were instances Chamisa and Mnangagwa getting the same figures and the same spoilt papers at several polling stations and it looks as if a kid was playing with figures, says Mpofu

12:56

Mpofu: There is no dispute that 40 000 people were denied their right to vote

ZEC does not dispute that postal voting at Ross Camp police station was not secret


12:56

Zimbabwean following the Constitutional Court proceedings in and outside Harare.

See the tweet below


12:54

Mpofu says many teachers were disenfranchised of their rights to vote when they were deployed to officiate during the polls but there are no affidavits places before the court by ZEC

12:53

Mpofu: In Masvingo ZEC does not explain how a 24.7% voter turnout was reached in the last hour

12:51

Mpofu says if a voter decides not to vote ZEC would have made an entry

Ghost polling account last for over 9000 votes

Ghost polling station account for over 9000 votes

9592 votes that came from ghost polling stations have not been disputed

Mpofu says there were more people who cast their votes than registered voters

Mpofu adds that some people who were not registered as voters were allowed to cast their ballots at a polling station in Belvedere in Harare


12:48

Nelson Chamisa’s lawyer says an expert report says the ZEC gave Mnangagwa 8944 votes undeservingly

He says the second set of figures is 7 730 that were given to Mnangagwa undeservedly

The difference between the presidential and parliamentary tally is not tallying, he says


12:43

Hundreds of people have gathered around screens outside Zimbabwe’s top court on Wednesday to watch a legal showdown between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the opposition leader challenging his July 30 election victory. – Reuters 

12:37


12:36

Meanwhile, Chamisa’s lawyer, Advocate Thabani Mpofu says the results announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission are invalid because they were not verified by anyone. – Frank Chikowore, News24 

12:35

Application by respondents to be party to the case have been dismissed and reasons to follow later

12:28

THE AFRICAN EDITORS FORUM STATEMENT ON ZBC RIGHTS TO BROADCAST

The African Editors Forum (TAEF) is deeply disappointed by the decision by the Zimbabwean Broadcast Corporation to impose fees on broadcast feeds of the ongoing Constitutional Court hearing on the recent elections.

The Zimbabwean Judicial Services Commission decided that the ZBC will have exclusive access to the court hearing.

The ZBC then decided to impose charges for distributing the broadcast feed.

TAEF learned with disappointment that the ZBC, a state broadcaster, charges USD 13500 per day for live TV feed and USD 5200 for radio feeds.

While TAEF appreciates the creative ways the ZBC has employed to raise much-needed revenue, their decision will limit access to the proceedings which are of acute national and international interest.

Therefore the decision by the ZBC will deny millions across Africa and the world – including Zimbabweans in the diaspora, access to information that they have a right to.

TAEF calls on the leadership of the Zimbabwean public broadcaster to adopt and implement universally accepted conduct where the host broadcaster provides TV and radio feeds free to others.

TAEF is in principle opposed to the imposition of the fees by ZBC. We appeal to the leadership of ZBC to rescind the decision to charge for broadcast fees.

We also urge the Government of Zimbabwe, who control the ZBC through the Ministry of Information, to demonstrate the dawn of a new era in Zimbabwe by instructing the leaders of the ZBC to do the right thing and open up the airwaves.

The imposition of prohibitively expensive feeds belongs to the old Zimbabwe and an epoch that the new Zimbabwe is supposedly walking away from.


12:18

Water cannons near the Constitutional Court building in Harare. (Picture: Frank Chikowore, News24)

11:59


11:54

The court adjourns for 20 minutes to deliver judgement on preliminary issues

11:48

The respondents are trying to bring their own application through the back door and they must be struck off, adds Kanengoni

11:47

Those papers should be disregarded by the court, they are out of court and they are out of time, says the ZEC lawyer

11:47

The respondents are presenting a counter application under the guise of opposing papers, says Kanengoni

11:47

Respondents cannot apply through opposing papers to challenge the results of the presidential  elections as they had the seven day period to seek that relief that they are now seeking in their opposing papers. – Kanengoni

11:46

Kanengoni says the papers filed by some respondents are not in essence opposition papers but founding affidavits

11:46

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission attorney Tawanda Kanengoni takes to the stage

11:45

These respondents are not proper respondents, the interest that we relate to is a legal interest. The law defines a respondent as a person whose position arising out of an election is complained of. – Uriri

11:41

In Brief

Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court on Wednesday began to hear an opposition petition seeking to overturn the presidential election result, in a legal challenge seen as unlikely to succeed despite allegations of vote fraud.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has accused the ruling Zanu-PF party and the election commission of rigging the July 30 vote, Zimbabwe’s first poll since the ousting of Robert Mugabe last year.

Chief Justice Luke Malaba opened the televised proceedings in Harare, where the court premises was surrounded by high security. Mugabe’s successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, won the election with 50.8% of the vote – just enough to avoid a run-off against the MDC’s Nelson Chamisa, who scored 44.3%.

“It’s D-Day for us. Our team is ready. We have got all the evidence to prove in court that our position is correct – our party won the elections,” MDC national chairman Morgan Komichi told reporters outside the courtroom. – AFP


11:34

Uriri says the respondents are in fact applicants because they are aggrieved candidates who lost in the elections

11:33

Uriri says the other respondents should have filed separate applications challenging Mnangagwa’s victory

11:32

Uriri says the purpose of a notice of opposition is to oppose an application adding a substantive relief cannot attach through a notice of opposition

11:28

Mnangagwa’s lead attorney Advocate Lewis Uriri takes the stage

11:26

Mpofu says there is nothing that stops the court from treating respondents who are not opposing the application as co-applicants

11:24

The attitude adopted by a respondent is his alone, says Mpofu

11:23

Mpofu says once it is accepted that we are dealing with an application not a petition, it means that all the cited persons have the right to respond

11:21

Chamisa’s lawyer Thabani Mpofu takes the stage

11:19

“Mangoma cannot be put out of the court because he was at high risk if he had not filed his response therefore he must be heard,” says his lawyer Manjengwa

11:16

Presidential candidate Elton Mangoma’s lawyer says the duty of the court is to enquire and when it comes to electoral petitions the court must move away from traditional strict practice in order to reach a decision that is informed

11:12

Here is the list showing the applicant and the respondents in this court case

11:07

Shumba says he was a member of the Zanu-PF party that fired Mnangagwa in 2017 and the court would benefit more from him if he is allowed to be part of the proceedings

11:05

Shumba says he associates himself with fifth respondent, Manyika

11:01

Shumba says the case is a far reaching one that will define the democratic landscape of Zimbabwe

11:00

Daniel Shumba, a presidential candidate from the United Democratic Alliance party stands up as a self actor in court

 


10:58

But Manyika’s lawyer insists once one has been cited as a respondent he or she must be given the right to be heard

10:57

Justice Makarau says the respondent could have filed papers as a co-applicant

10:56

Manyika’s attorney insists that her client must be heard

10:51

The lawyer says Manyika supports Chamisa’s application that the July 30 election is invalid

10:45

Chief Justice Luke Malaba says the law is very clear that an aggrieved candidate in an election has a right to challenge the results within seven days which the respondent should have done within the stipulated period – Frank Chikowore, News24

10:32


10:31

“The court cannot close the door for cited respondents to make submissions in a case that they have an interest in.”

10:29

A lawyer representing one of the independent presidential candidates Dr Noah Manyika, say all those who have been cited have an interest in the case and should be allowed to respond because the respondent has an interest in the case – Frank Chikowore, News24 

10:27

Former Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Rita Makarau is among the judges – Frank Chikowore, News24

10:23

Dali Mpofu and crew inside the court but will not be able to make submissions until a ruling has been made on their case. – Frank Chikowore, News24 

10:21

Chief Justice Luke Malaba lays down the law. Says the lawyers will be accorded 20 min of submission each for main arguments.

10:17

Chief Justice Luke Malaba spells out how the Constitutional Court hearing will proceed. There are 4 categories of participants: applicant, respondents opposing, respondents supporting, and those who want to be excused. @BrezhMalaba

10:08

This is what Nelson Chamisa tweeted a while ago.

10:05

Nelson Chamisa’s South African lawyers have finally been allowed into the Constitutional Court, tweets @BrezhMalaba.

10:02

@BrezhMalaba is tweeting that Nelson Chamisa’s South African lawyers are being denied entry into the Constitutional Court.

See tweet below


09:59

Chamisa’s local lawyers have just filed an urgent application at the High Court challenging the decision by the justice ministry to bar top lawyers from South Africa, including Dali Mpofu, from practicing in Zimbabwe. (Frank Chikowore, News24)

09:57

Journalists covering the case outside the courtroom as the Judicial Services Commission gave broadcasting rights to the state broadcaster Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings. ZBC is charging US$13 000 for a livefeed (Picture: Frank Chikowore, News24)

09:55

One of the MDC Alliance lawyers arriving at the Constitutional Court. (Picture: Frank Chikowore, News24)

09:53

Watch this video of the MDC Alliance lawyers arriving at the Constitutional Court, as tweeted by Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa.

09:51

Al Jazeera journalist Haru Mutasa says the media has been barred from bringing phones and other recording devices into the constitutional court. Journalists are only allowed to to bring in notebooks and pens.

See tweet below.


09:44

Nelson Chamisa’s South African advocates Tembeka Ngcukaitobi and Dali Mpofu have arrived at the Constitutional Court

See pictures of them outside the court, as tweeted by @BrezhMalaba


09:36


09:28

There is tight security in Zimbabwe’s capital on Wednesday as the Constitutional Court is set to hear the main opposition party’s challenge to the results of last month’s historic presidential election.

Police have barricaded the roads around the court in central Harare as tensions have risen ahead of the crucial court case which will decide if the election of President Emmerson Mnangagwa is valid.

The opposition claims the vote had “gross mathematical errors” and it seeks a fresh election or a declaration that its candidate Nelson Chamisa is the winner of the July 30 vote. – AP


09:20


09:19

One of the MDC Alliance leaders, who is also a lawyer and was deported from Zambia after attempting to seek asylum, Tendai Biti, has also arrived at the Constitutional Court.


09:16

See pictures posted on social media of some members of the judiciary arriving at the Constitutional Court in Harare.

The proceedings are set to start around 10:00, according to @BrezhMalaba


09:11

One of the President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s lawyers, Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana has also arrived at the Constitutional court, according to a renowned Zimbawean journalist.

09:09

A Zimbabwean journalist has tweeted the arrival of Zimbabwe’s Electoral Commission chairperson Priscilla Chigumba chairpeson at the Constitutional Court in Harare


09:06


09:02

Many on social media say that Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court is on trial today to demonstrate impartiality.

08:55

NewsDay report says Zimbabwe’s fate lies with nine Constitutional Court judges, who will preside over the matter which will decide on who will lead Zimbabwe for the next five years.

Chief Justice Luke Malaba will lead a cast of eight judges picked from the 14 Supreme Court judges. These include Deputy Chief Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza, former Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Justice Rita Makarau, Justices Paddington Garwe, Chinembiri Bhunu, Baratkumar Patel, Ben Hlatshwayo, Tendai Uchena and Lavender Makoni, the report says.


08:48

Meanwhile, New Zimbabwe.com reports that police have banned the carrying of cell phones and other electronic gadgets into the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) premises f.

“The Zimbabwe Republic Police wishes to inform the nation that people who will be attending the Constitutional Court on the 22-23 August 2018 will not be allowed to carry electronic gadgets like cell phones, laptops, cameras or other recording devices,” police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba is quoted as saying in a statement.

“To avoid unnecessary delays please leave these items elsewhere. Only accredited individuals will be allowed access to the Constitutional Court premises. “We kindly request cooperation with law enforcement agents in that regard.”


08:44

SABC is reporting that the Zimbabwe police are on high alert ahead of the election court bid.

The report says that all Zimbabwean police have been recalled from leave to be deployed outside the Constitutional Court and around the country.

See the SABC tweet below


08:29


08:28

Reports on social media indicate that Chamisa’s SA lawyers have arrived in the country for the petition.

Watch the video below in which Chamisa’s spokesperson Nkululekop Sibanda says the lawyers have been accredited to be in court… “an that’s all that matters”.


08:24

Zimbabwe’s justice minister indicated this week that applications by Nelson Chamisa’s South African lawyers to appear in Harare’s Constitutional Court arrived late and didn’t have supporting documents.

Ziyambi Ziyambi told state ZBC radio on Monday that the applications arrived after he’d already left his office on Friday. He said he’d written to the lawyers to get them to send the information on Monday, but had only received documents for one of the lawyers – Advocate Jeremy Gauntlett.

But Chamisa’s spokesperson, Nkululeko Sibanda, played down the issue of the South Africans not getting permits.

“When we were talking to them we were clearly aware that the chances of them being allowed to operate in the country were very slim,” he told News24.

He said the MDC Alliance had hired the lawyers for their expertise and not necessarily to argue the case before the court.“The brains and expertise don’t need a visa to operate in the country,” he added.


08:16

International monitors largely praised the conduct of the election itself, although EU observers said that Mnangagwa, a former long-time Mugabe ally, benefited from an “un-level playing field”.

The court could declare a winner, call another election, or order a run-off or recount.

The inauguration should take place within 48 hours of the court’s ruling, according to the constitution. – AFP


08:16

Derek Matyszak, a legal expert at the University of Zimbabwe, says the opposition faces an uphill struggle given the courts’ historic tilt towards Zanu-PF, which has ruled since independence from British colonial rule in 1980.

“The outcome is pretty predictable,” Matyszak said. “There is absolutely no chance of the election results being overturned.

“The judiciary (is) perceived to be partisan. Once the ruling is made, Chamisa will accuse it of bias and try to make political capital out of it.”

The MDC’s appeal, which was lodged hours before the deadline on August 10, has already forced Mnangagwa’s inauguration – planned for August 12 – to be postponed. – AFP


08:16

Senior Zanu-PF legal representative Patrick Chinamasa has ridiculed the MDC’s legal bid.

“Just as you cannot give life to a dead horse, even the best lawyers in the world cannot give life to a hopeless case,” he said in a statement.

“To those who voted for Chamisa, I ask you to gracefully accept defeat so that the country can move on.”

The MDC has cited a catalogue of irregularities and discrepancies including more people voting at some polling stations than were registered.

The case, presided over by nine judges at the country’s top court, will be broadcast live on state television. A ruling is expected by Friday. – AFP


08:16

Here is what you need to know about the election petition – according to AFP

Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court will Wednesday hear an opposition petition seeking to overturn the presidential election result, in a legal challenge seen as unlikely to succeed despite allegations of vote fraud.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has accused the ruling Zanu-PF party and the election commission of rigging the July 30 vote, Zimbabwe’s first poll since the ousting of Robert Mugabe last year.

Mugabe’s successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, won with 50.8% of the vote – just enough to avoid a run-off against the MDC’s Nelson Chamisa, who scored 44.3%.

“We have a very strong case and we are going to reverse the electoral fraud,” Chamisa told reporters this week.

“We are going to defend your vote, our vote, the people’s vote. We have no doubt that victory is certain.”

Mnangagwa, who has vowed to turn around Zimbabwe’s ruined economy, hoped the elections would draw a line under Mugabe’s repressive 37-year rule.

The election campaign was more open than previous votes, but was marred by the army opening fire on protesters, killing six, allegations of vote-rigging and a crackdown on opposition activists.

“I won the court case before it began,” Mnangagwa said on the sidelines of a regional summit in Namibia at the weekend.

“It’s declared free and fair… why would I ever think that I will lose?”


08:16

The privately-owned NewsDay reports that the Africa Judges and Jurists Forum (AJJF) has dispatched senior judges and jurists to observe the court challenge.

“The Africa Judges and Jurists Forum will be represented by secretary-general Martin Masiga from Uganda, Retired Chief Justice Earnest Sakala of Zambia and Justice Isaac Lenaola from the Supreme Court of Kenya,” Arnold Tsunga, Africa director at International Commission of Jurists is quoted as saying.


08:16

Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court is on Wednesday set to hear the petition lodged by opposition leader Nelson Chamisa in his bid to overturn President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s victory in the July 30 elections.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader narrowly lost to Mnangagwa but his party alleges “gross mathematical errors”.

The MDC seeks a fresh election or a declaration of Chamisa as the winner of the July 30 vote, according to AP.