Zimbabwe election court challenge – Nehanda Radio



From Farai Mutsaka

Harare was under strict security controls on Wednesday when the Constitutional Court began hearing the challenge of the main opposition party with regard to the results of the historic presidential election last month.

Chief Justice Luke Malaba
Chief Justice Luke Malaba

The police barricaded the streets around the court in the center of Harare amid high tensions over the crucial issue that will determine whether President Emmerson Mnangagwa's election victory is valid.

The opposition claims that the vote contains "gross mathematical errors" and seeks a new election or a statement that its candidate Nelson Chamisa is the winner of the vote of 30 July.

* The Zimbabwean election committee declared Mnangagwa in a narrow way with 50.8 percent of the votes, avoiding a reproduction. Chamisa got 44.3 percent, the committee said.

"It is as if a child is playing with the figures", a lawyer from the opposition, Thabani Mpofu, told the court. He claimed that 16 polling stations had identical results and that "mass killing" took place.

Lawyers representing the opposition party in Zimbabwe are seen on the arrival of the Constitutional Court in Harare on Wednesday, August 22, 2018, as a challenge to the outcome of the historic presidential election in recent months. The opposition claims that the vote
Lawyers representing the opposition party in Zimbabwe are seen on the arrival of the Constitutional Court in Harare on Wednesday, August 22, 2018, as a challenge to the outcome of the historic presidential election in recent months. The opposition claims that the vote had "gross mathematical errors" and is looking for a new election or a statement by its candidate Nelson Chamisa as the winner of the vote on 30 July. (AP Photo / Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Mpofu told the court that the election commission had produced three sets of voting results from the president, including one in court cases in which the committee downgraded Mnangagwa's profit to 50.67 percent.

The committee attributed this to an "error", but argued that it was not significant enough to invalidate the profit.

Mpofu said that Chamisa had lost more than 69,000 votes in total, well over the 31,000 votes that allowed Mnangagwa to prevent an election election.

"On that basis, a drain is inevitable," Mpofu said.

Supreme Judge Luke Malaba, however, pressed the opposition for the original election results to support their allegations: "We can not act on generals."

Under strict security, the Zimbabwean opposition leader Tendai Biti is searched before entering the Constitutional Court in Harare on Wednesday, August 22, 2018, to challenge the results of the historic presidential election last month. The opposition claims that the vote
Under strict security, the Zimbabwean opposition leader Tendai Biti is searched before entering the Constitutional Court in Harare on Wednesday, August 22, 2018, to challenge the results of the historic presidential election last month. The opposition claims that the vote had "gross mathematical errors" and is looking for a new election or a statement by its candidate Nelson Chamisa as the winner of the vote on 30 July. (AP Photo / Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

"The jurisprudence and political burden that weighs heavily on the shoulders of each of the judges of the Constitutional Court today is that they are about to judge by far the most important case of their legal career," wrote Welshman Ncube, a ally of Chamisa and constitutional lawyer Twitter.

Before the hearing began around 10 a.m. (0800 GMT), the lawyers of Chamisa Zimbabwe's Minister of Justice, Ziyambi Ziyambi, accused the refusal of temporary work permits to three South African members of their team.

The judges let the three continue to work in court for the court. Ziyambi declined to comment on contact with Reuters.

Zimbabwe election commission president Priscilla Chigumba arrives at the Constitutional Court in Harare, Wednesday, August 22, 2018, where the court will hear an exclamation against the results of the historic presidential election last month. The opposition claims that the vote
Zimbabwe election commission president Priscilla Chigumba arrives at the Constitutional Court in Harare, Wednesday, August 22, 2018, where the court will hear an exclamation against the results of the historic presidential election last month. The opposition claims that the vote had "gross mathematical errors" and is looking for a new election or a statement by its candidate Nelson Chamisa as the winner of the vote on 30 July. (AP Photo / Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Mnangagwa and the election committee argue that the opposition's application must be rejected on the grounds of a technical point because it was submitted too late and the newspapers were not properly served to the respondents.

In his sworn statement, Mnangagwa states that the court should not hear Chamisa's request for "scandalizing" the court by claiming during political meetings that the judiciary was biased against the ruling party, ZANU-PF.

ZBC TV outside broadcast bus
ZBC TV outside broadcast bus

The case was broadcast live by the state channel, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, but the court ruled that the proceedings could not be livestreamed on social media. Journalists and others accredited by the court followed a procedure on a giant television screen in the courtroom, but they were not allowed to take mobile phones or laptops with them.

Chamisa's lawyers in court said they also should not have taken electronic gadgets with them.

Lawyers representing the opposition party in Zimbabwe are seen on the arrival of the Constitutional Court in Harare on Wednesday, August 22, 2018 as a challenge to the outcome of the historic presidential election last month. The opposition claims that the vote
Lawyers representing the opposition party in Zimbabwe are seen on the arrival of the Constitutional Court in Harare on Wednesday, August 22, 2018 as a challenge to the outcome of the historic presidential election last month. The opposition claims that the vote had "gross mathematical errors" and is looking for a new election or a statement by its candidate Nelson Chamisa as the winner of the vote on 30 July. (AP Photo / Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

According to Veritas, a legal think tank based in Harare, the court can declare a winner or declare the elections invalid and call for a new election or make another order that she finds "correct and appropriate".

If the court upheld Mnangagwa's victory, the inauguration would take place within 48 hours.

With tight security, people walk past a barricaded road to the Constitutional Court in Harare, on Wednesday, August 22, 2018. The Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe will hear the main challenge of the opposition in the outcome of the presidential elections of recent months, during which the vote demanded
With tight security, people walk past a barricaded road to the Constitutional Court in Harare, on Wednesday, August 22, 2018. The Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe will hear the main challenge of the opposition in the outcome of the presidential elections of recent months, during which the vote demanded "gross mathematical errors" and sought a new election or a statement from his candidate Nelson Chamisa as the winner of the vote of 30 July. (AP Photo / Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
People walk past a barricaded road to the Constitutional Court in Harare, Wednesday, August 22, 2018. The Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe will hear the main challenge of the opposition in the outcome of the presidential election of last months, claiming that the vote
People walk past a barricaded road to the Constitutional Court in Harare, Wednesday, August 22, 2018. The Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe will hear the main challenge of the opposition in the outcome of the presidential election of last months, claiming that the voice "gross mathematician "" And are looking for a new election or a statement by her candidate Nelson Chamisa as the winner of the vote of July 30. (AP Photo / Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Policemen secure the area outside the Constitutional Court in Harare, Wednesday, August 22, 2018. The Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe will hear the main opposition challenge against the results of the historic presidential elections of recent months, claiming that the vote
Police officers secure the area outside the Constitutional Court in Harare, Wednesday, August 22, 2018. The Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe will hear the main opposition challenge against the results of the historic presidential elections of recent months, claiming that the vote "gross mathematical errors" and were looking for a new election or a statement by his candidate Nelson Chamisa as the winner of the vote of 30 July. ((AP Photo / Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
An armed officer can be seen in the Constitutional Courtyard in Harare, on Wednesday, August 22, 2018, where the court hears, under strict security, an exclamation against the results of the historic presidential election last month. The opposition claims that the vote
An armed officer can be seen in the Constitutional Courtyard in Harare, on Wednesday, August 22, 2018, where the court hears, under strict security, an exclamation against the results of the historic presidential election last month. The opposition claims that the vote had "gross mathematical errors" and is looking for a new election or a statement by its candidate Nelson Chamisa as the winner of the vote on 30 July. (AP Photo / Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

This is not the first time that the opposition has challenged election results in court. After the presidential election of 2013, head opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai presented a challenge, but later withdrew it with the argument that he would not receive fair hearing. The court refused his withdrawal and proceeded to decide the matter in favor of Mugabe. Associated Press


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