LIVE: Tight security in capital Harare ahead of Zim ConCourt ruling on vote challenge

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 here

Zim ConCourt

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.”


09:41

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