The Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) has cried foul after 12 of its candidates were disqualified from contesting parliamentary seats in Bulawayo.
A High Court judge ruled in favour of some ZANU PF activists who argued that the affected CCC candidates missed the 4pm deadline for submitting their nomination papers.
Among those disqualified was Pashor Sibanda, the CCC candidate who was set to challenge Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube for the Cowdray Park seat. Other key seats now seem set to go uncontested by ZANU PF, including Bulawayo Central and Bulawayo South.
CCC spokesperson Fadzai Mahere decried the court ruling as “unconstitutional” and a sign that ZANU PF leader Emmerson Mnangagwa is “afraid of the people.”
CCC now vows to fight fire with fire by launching legal appeals – as well as begging help from African Union monitors.
In a statement, Mahere said the CCC will urgently appeal the judgment and “invoke all legal, political and regional measures” available under Zimbabwe’s constitution as well as AU and SADC mechanisms.
She slammed the attempt to “impose candidates on the citizens of Bulawayo” as a “dark stain on our democracy” and evidence Zimbabwe is now a “full-blown dictatorship, worse than Robert Mugabe.”
The disqualifications have been met with widespread disapproval from the CCC and civil society, who accuse ZANU PF of manipulating the judiciary to gain an electoral advantage.