LIVE: ConCourt ruling on Zimbabwe election challenge begins

Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court is today expected to rule an opposition bid to have presidential election results thrown out over alleged rigging in favour of Robert Mugabe’s successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa. Get the live updates he

Zim ConCourt

Last Updated at 15:05
16:03

Chief Justice Malaba: There is a presumption of validity of the election

16:03

Chief Justice Malaba: In the final analysis the applicant failed to convince this court to set aside the results of the election

16:02

Chief Justice Malaba: There was also no tangible evidence of ghost voters

16:01

Chief Justice Malaba: There was no evidence some teachers were disenfranchised of their right to vote as no affidavit from any of the teachers. Even if the evidence was availed, it would not have affected the result

16:00

Chief Justice Malaba: The applicant made several startling allegations without referring to source evidence.

ZEC proved through the V11 forms that some forms were signed and populated as opposed to what the applicant said.


15:56

Chief Justice Malaba: The amendment of results by ZEC has no bearing on the results of the election.

This is simply because the applicant needed more evidence in the inaccuracy of the figures


15:55

Chief Justice Malaba: The declaration of results made a critical admission that the results were changed

15:50

Chief Justice Malaba: All the allegations against the electoral commission were debunked by the commission’s attorney

15:49

Chief Justice Malaba: Malaba says even if the applicant did not have agents at all polling stations he should have collected samples and it would have shown the electoral commission’s malpractices

15:47

Chief Justice Malaba: The applicant’s attorney made bald and unsubstantiated allegations

15:47

Chief Justice Malaba: If the applicant had placed before the court the V11 forms it would have disposed of any questions of vote rigging, it would have addressed issues of similar results at some polling stations.

That evidence was not adduced


15:44

Chief Justice Malaba: The applicant was at large to send his election agents countrywide but did not do so, election observers were there

15:41

He had remedies available to him and he did not utilize them, says the Chief Justice

15:41

Chief Justice Malaba: The applicant would have sought a recount and would have approached the electoral court to apply for an order to open the ballot boxes

15:40

Chief Justice Malaba: Time was on the applicant’s side to obtain the evidence from the election residue

15:39

Chief Justice Malaba: When the results were declared the applicant knew that he was aggrieved

15:38

Chief Justice Malaba: Primary evidence was supposed to be derived from the opening of ballot boxes

15:37

Chief Justice Malaba: No proof was adduced by the applicant

15:36

Chief Justice Malaba: The applicant made general allegations and no direct allegations of complicity were made against Emmerson Mnangagwa

15:34

Chief Justice Malaba: The court will only invalidate the results of the presidential election if the court is satisfied that the results were materially affected or were a result of a fraud

15:32

Chief Justice Malaba: The court will declare the election void if there was a breach of the electoral law

15:31

Chief Justice says the burden of proof rests with the applicant to warrant the granting of the relief sought

15:28

The Chief Justice us now reading the complaints raised by the applicant on the conduct of the elections.

These include bribery by the incumbent, undue influence, rogue military personnel, the failure display V11 forms, and so on


15:27

Chief Justice Malaba: The application for conformation was filed by the applicant and the court hereby grants the application

15:26

Chief Justice Malaba: The application clearly breached the rules of the court and filed a defective application

15:24

Chief Justice Malaba says the applicant would only serve the application to the respondents through the sheriff.

The application was eventually served out of time, he says


15:23

The Chief Justice says the application was served on the respondents on the 8th day

15:18

The Chief Justice says the applicant seeks to set aside the result of the election and be declared the winner or alternatively an order compelling a the state to conduct a rerun

15:16

Chief Justice Malaba is now reading what the law says for one to challenge the results of an election

15:16

Chief Justice Malaba is now reading the judgement starting with what everyone already knows that the July 30 was challenged by MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa

15:15

Chief Justice Malaba says it is a unanimous decision and reasons will be issued in due course

15:14

The Constitutional Court ruling on the Zimbabwe election challenge has just started 

15:09


14:25

Lawyers of MDC leader Nelson Chamisa in discussion at the Constitutional Court. (Picture: Frank Chikowore, News24)

14:17

Journalists at the court (Picture: Frank Chikowore, News24)

14:15

MDC leader Chamisa’s lawyer, Thabani Mpofu has just arrived at the Constitutional Court in Harare. (Picture: Frank Chikowore, News24)

14:11

A renowned Zimbabwean journalist is tweeting that the Constitutional Court judgment initially scheduled for 14:00 will now be handed down at 15:00.

See tweet below


13:49

One of Mnangagwa’s lawyers Paul Mangwana has also arrived

13:48

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission head Priscillah Chigumba has just arrived

13:44

Zimbabwe’s main opposition is expressing concern over reports that preparations have begun for the inauguration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa even before the constitutional court has ruled on its challenge to the election results.

A spokesperson has spoken to reporters an hour before the court is set to announce its ruling. The spokesperson says inauguration preparations cannot begin before the court ruling and “that is a problem.”

If the court upholds Mnangagwa’s narrow election victory the inauguration would be held within 48 hours. An Associated Press reporter sees no preparations at the national stadium in the capital, Harare. – AP


13:41

Nkululeko Sibanda: “There is also evidence that there are preparations in and around the National Sports Stadium for a large event. The judgment is expected at 14:00 and has not been pronounced just yet. We are therefore, not clear if there is someone who before the judgment is pronounced already knows how it looks like and is already making preparations…”

13:35

Nkululeko Sibanda : “There are also a number of letters that have gonbe viral in various forms of media that supposedly are inviting people to an inauguration…. This suggests the court process is of no value.”

13:31

Nkululeko Sibanda: “At various points this morning in Harare we have experienced jets flying above. This suggests that somebody is preparing for an inauguration. It is not clear how anybody would begin that process before the courts have made a determination.”

13:14

Watch this MDC press conference taking place at the Constitutional Court building right now.

Nelson Chamisa’s spokesperson, Nkululeko Sibanda says his boss is expressing concern over the statement by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga suggesting that the president of Zimbabwe would be Mnangagwa regardless of the outcome of the court process.

He says this clearly undermines the court process.


13:12


12:53


12:15

The MDC is confident of a win, according to an eNCA reporter.

See the tweet below


12:12

An eNCA journalist is tweeting and quoting Zanu-PF as saying that President Mnangagwa is at a funeral and it’s not clear whether he will or will not be president at the Constitutional Court this afternoon.

See tweet below


11:47

Zimbabwe’s Daily News reports that the United States has issued a travel warning to its citizens ahead of the Constitutional Court ruling.

“Zimbabwe is is experiencing civil unrest, violence and heightened political tension following the general elections held on July 30,”


11:10

MDC Alliance principal, Tendai Biti, who is also part of the counsel representing opposition leader Nelson Chamisa in the petition seeking to overturn the result of the July 30 presidential election says it will be difficult for the Constitutional Court  to dismiss the case on technicalities – according to The Independent newspaper

11:47

Zimbabwe’s Daily News reports that the United States has issued a travel warning to its citizens ahead of the Constitutional Court ruling.

“Zimbabwe is is experiencing civil unrest, violence and heightened political tension following the general elections held on July 30,”


11:10

MDC Alliance principal, Tendai Biti, who is also part of the counsel representing opposition leader Nelson Chamisa in the petition seeking to overturn the result of the July 30 presidential election says it will be difficult for the Constitutional Court  to dismiss the case on technicalities – according to The Independent newspaper

11:07

WHAT TO EXPECT ON JUDGEMENT DAY

As the Constitutional Court considers the evidence ahead of handing down judgement in the election petition, law experts are predicting Zanu PF leader Emmerson Mnangagwa will triumph.

Zimbabwe’s privately owned Independent newspaper looks at some of those predictions.


11:02

Some useful background information 

The July 30 vote was peaceful but scenes of the military sweeping into the capital two days later to disperse opposition protesters — six people were killed — led to fears that the government of the 75-year-old Mnangagwa, a former Mugabe enforcer, was stuck in the past despite declarations of reforms.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission declared Mnangagwa won with 50.8% of the vote but later revised that down to 50.6%, attributing the revision to an “error” but arguing it was not significant enough to invalidate the win. It said Chamisa received 44.3%.

In the court hearing this week, the opposition claimed the electoral commission bumped up Mnangagwa’s figures through double counts and the creation of “ghost” polling stations.

It also alleged that some polling stations recorded more voters than those registered.”It’s like a kid was playing with the figures,” a lawyer for the opposition, Thabani Mpofu, told the court.

He said Chamisa could have lost more than 69,000 votes in all, well over the 31,000 that allowed Mnangagwa to avoid a runoff election.

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

The lawyer for Mnangagwa, Lewis Uriri, agreed: “The mere making of bold allegations does not make and cannot threaten an election.”

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


10:51

Security is tight in the capital, Harare, as the court will determine whether President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s narrow victory is valid.

The opposition claims vote-rigging and seeks either a fresh election or a declaration that its candidate, Nelson Chamisa, won.

A credible vote is key to lifting international sanctions as the southern African nation tries to move away from the long shadow of Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule.

The July 30 vote was peaceful but scenes of the military sweeping into the capital two days later to disperse opposition protesters led to fears that the government of Mnangagwa, a former Mugabe enforcer, was stuck in the past despite declarations of reforms. – AP


10:15

Leader of the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance Nelson Chamisa has tweeted:

“I’m so happy with e primary evidence & V11s we adduced based on ZEC’s own data. ZEC’s admission to making mistakes x3 in election result settles the matter. Key ? ..Was that e only mistake? ZEC seeks e court to validate a mistake & hopes to have a Con-court uphold a mistake??”


10:07

The Zimbabwean government is calling on Zimbabweans to maintain “peace and tranquillity”  after today’s ruling by the constitutional court.

The state-owned Herald newspaper quotes the Acting Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting services, Simon Khaya Moyo as saying:

“As the Constitutional Court delivers its verdict tomorrow (today), let the nation embrace the outcome with calm, decency, sobriety and genial composure.”

“The unity and peace evident throughout the country is highly commendable inclusive of the admirable tranquillity displayed by the citizenry in general throughout the Constitutional Court. We must avoid any form of violence irrespective of the outcome.”


09:43


09:43


09:42


09:41

Zimbabweans are airing their views on social media and calling for peace as they await the Constitutional Court ruling on the petition in which MDC Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa is seeking the invalidation of the 30 July presidential election result.

09:31

WATCH the court proceedings from Wednesday’s hearing as posted on Youtube by the Herald

09:28

Background information

Here is an overview on what transpired on Wednesday during a hearing where lawyers of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance sought to prove to the court that the vote was rigged in favour of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.


09:22

According to Zimbabwe’s state-owned Herald newspaper, if the constitutional court endorses President Mnangagwa’s victory, he is expected to be inaugurated within 48 hours as postulated under the Electoral Act which has to be by 14:00on Sunday.

The ruling of the court will be final and cannot be appealed.


09:20

The petition hearing is the first to be streamed live from the courtroom in the history of the country.

09:15


09:15

Zimbabwe’s vice president Constantino Chiwenga has reportedly said that nothing will change the election of Emmerson Mnangagwa as president of the southern African country, despite an opposition Constitutional Court petition challenging the vote.

According to NewsDay, speaking at Inyati Imhenyu Farm in Banket early this week, Chiwenga said Mnangagwa would remain president even after the much anticipated court ruling on Friday.

“We are happy that you voted for President-elect Mnangagwa, who will be the President of the country after the court (ConCourt) hearing… Nothing is going to change,” Chiwenga was quoted as saying.


09:15

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

Tight security “This application was not seriously done. The applicant is clearly flippant,” he said.Nine judges, led by Chief Justice Luke Malaba, heard the case in Harare, amid tight security. – AFP


09:15

Mnangagwa, of the ruling Zanu-PF party, 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%.

09:15

Lawyers for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposition argued that the results should be annulled due to “massive doctoring” of the July 30 vote.

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


09:15

Zimbabwe’s top court was set to rule on Friday on an opposition bid to have presidential election results thrown out over alleged rigging in favour of Robert Mugabe’s successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The Constitutional Court in Harare said it would hand down its verdict at 14:00 after considering arguments put before judges on Wednesday, with analysts predicting it would rule against the appeal. – AFP