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.
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
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
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
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
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
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