HARARE – The under-fire Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has cut President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa’s win by a marginal 0,1 percent, but insists the error was purely clerical.
A fortnight ago, Zec declared Mnangagwa as the winner of a congested presidential race in which 23 candidates took part, including Nelson Chamisa of the main MDC Alliance.
At the time, Zec said the Zanu PF presidential candidate had garnered 50,8 percent of the vote, with Chamisa trailing him at 44,3 percent.
In a new twist to developments around the poll dispute between Zec and Chamisa, Priscilla Chigumba, who chairs the commission, has now reduced Mnangagwa’s win to 50,6 percent.
In her response to Chamisa, who is challenging Mnangagwa’s win at the Constitutional Court (Con-Court), Chigumba said the corrections alter the MDC Alliance leader’s result to 44,39.
She said even if the corrections were made, the opposition leader cannot overtake Mnangagwa.
“After the correction of the observed errors, the results that Nelson Chamisa gained 4 483 voters representing a change of 0,1 percent of the announced results, whilst Emmerson Mnangagwa’s votes reduced by 4 453 votes representing a change of 0,08 percent of the announced results,” Chigumba said in court papers.
“Overall, the final computations do not alter significantly the announced 2018 presidential results,” she added.
Chigumba said any mathematical errors that may have occurred in the process were neither gross nor sufficient to overturn the outcome of the presidential election and thus cannot ground the vacation of the declaration she made in terms of a section the Electoral Act.
She concedes, however, that some polling stations were counted twice.
The development has left Zec with egg on the face and its credibility in question.
In his petition, Chamisa claims that he won the polls by 60 percent.
He cites several mathematical inconsistencies he says if corrected would reduce Mnangagwa’s vote to below 50 percent.
To overturn Mnangagwa’s victory and trigger a presidential election run-off, Chamisa would need to knock off at least six percent of the vote that the Zanu PF leader currently has.
Chamisa has put together a team of lawyers to argue his case in the Con-Court next week on Wednesday, when it would be heard.
Top South African lawyers Dali Mpofu and Tembeka Ngcukaitobi have since arrived in Zimbabwe to add to Chamisa’s legal team.
In his affidavit filed at the Con-Court, Chamisa said although he was not the one on trial, his tally of votes was 2 674 032, against 2 008 639 for Mnangagwa.
“That is in terms of what is on the Zec server,” he said.
“I will, by separate process, subpoena those results. I point out that these are the entries made in real time by Zec before it connived to change the results,” Chamisa said in his petition.
The MDC Alliance is seeking that the Apex Court considers “mathematical violations” because all the “constitutional and statutory violations” and counting discrepancies “were meant to and did unduly favour the first respondent (Mnangagwa)”.
It said the violations go to the root of a proper and credible electoral process.
“These are accordingly irregularities that cannot be ignored. These are irregularities that do not arise from mistakes.
“I submit that the evidence placed before the court shows gross irregularities which affect the validity of the election and its outcome. That being the case, I submit that the entire process must be declared invalid and accordingly set aside,” the alliance argues.
The legal team is seeking an order declaring Chamisa to have won the poll.
Alternatively, it says the court should order a fresh poll because the data that Zec has is just too compromised to be made the basis of anything.