THE High Court has dismissed a bid by little-known opposition Zanu party to force the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to print this year’s ballot material on ordinary bond paper.
High Court judge Justice Nyaradzo Munangati-Manongwa, who entertained Zanu’s application and delivered judgment on May 30, 2018 said, Zanu had failed to establish a well-grounded fear of irreparable harm if the relief sought was not granted. She said Zanu’s litigation was an ill-thought application devoid of merit.
Zanu president, Chawaona Wilbroad Kanoti had filed an urgent chamber application seeking to compel Zec to not to use special but ordinary bond paper for printing of the ballot papers.
But, in her judgement Justice Munangati-Manongwa said the court did not see how the chemical composition, type and make of the ballot paper would assist Zanu’s leader in exercising his rights to stand for public office or affect his right to free and fair elections.
This, the judge said, more so, when there was no evidence placed before her that the type of paper or special ballot paper, to be used, is such that it would impact upon free and fair elections.
“There is no evidence placed before the court to buttress the allegations of an electoral manipulation and how it can be achieved through the use of special ballot paper. ….as the challenge is on the chemical composition and type of the special ballot paper scientific evidence had to be presented to show the inappropriateness of the ballot paper,”
Justice Munangati-Manongwa said.
The judge said Zec had made it clear that the elections have always been done on special paper and that it could not disclose the detail for security reasons.
“This reason is compelling as releasing such information compromises the elections in the court’s view.
“To simply suggest that bond paper is appropriate is not only being naïve but to underrate the very special process.
Apart from the choice of paper being the first respondent’s (Zec) exclusive prerogative, issues of security come into play.
“If the type, composition and nature of the paper are made public there is a danger of reproduction of the ballot paper by unscrupulous persons which actions would impact on the credibility of the whole election process.”
Kanoti had presented that if Zec is transparent, accountable and indeed independent as is expected and required of such a commission, it should use normal bond paper at the forthcoming national elections, an assertion which the court dismissed.