President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa has said he is the duly elected president of the country and that a Constitutional Court (Con-Court) challenge by MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa was without merit and therefore must be dismissed.
He was responding to an application filed by Chamisa, who is challenging the results announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), declaring the Zanu PF leader as the winner.
In the results announced by Zec, Mnangagwa won by 50,8 percent of the vote, while Chamisa got 44,3 percent.
Chamisa is contesting the outcome in the Con-Court, claiming the figures were inflated to accord Mnangagwa a win, when in fact he won the election with 60 percent of the vote.
In his affidavit filed yesterday at the same court, Mnangagwa said Chamisa’s arguments were baseless and must be dismissed with costs.
He said there was no valid application before the court, further arguing that he was served with the application out of time.
Mnangagwa said the papers were only served on him on August 11, 2018, after the lapse of the seven-day period, which is the time within which a presidential contest can be filed from the date of the announcement of the results.
He also said that Chamisa’s lawyers had gone further to serve the papers at the offices of the president, instead of having served him at the address that he supplied to the Nomination Court.
Mnangagwa said all these mistakes made the case fatally defective.
“From the foregoing, I conclude by praying that the honourable court dismisses this application with costs on an attorney and client scale and confirms me to be the duly declared winner of the presidential election held on 30 July 2018.
“I say so for the following reasons: the applicant has not placed before the court any evidence of irregularities which warrant the setting aside of the declaration made by the 23rd respondent (Zec chairperson Priscilla Chigumba) that I won the presidential election,” Mnangagwa said.
He also said Chamisa’s application was marred with certain deficiencies, and must be dismissed.
“The application is afflicted with patent procedural irregularities. It was lodged out of time. Even then, it is wanting in respect of the addresses of 19 out of 25 respondents. No proof of service was filed with the registrar of the honourable court within 48 hours as required by the rules. It was not served with all documents that the applicant claimed to have filed. This host of irregularities is fatal to the application.
“The application is premised on alleged mathematical anomalies which have no factual foundation. The lofty conclusions made by the applicant are unsubstantiated and completely unbelievable. The supposed experts whose affidavits the applicant relies upon do not help the court at all,” he said.
The Zanu PF front-man also said that Chamisa had unprocedurally filed the application with a strategic intention to invite technical objections and avoid the hearing of the application on merits.
“Applicant makes bald and unsubstantiated allegations of fact. He filed a Section 93 application which is incomplete. Additionally the particularity and specificity required by Section 93 (3) of the Constitution in a Section 93 application is lacking. The court must therefore find that the allegations have not and cannot be proven,” Mnangagwa said.
He said Chamisa’s intention was not to seek the invalidation of the results but to create doubt in the minds of the people regarding the election process.
“The next objection is that the applicant has scandalised the court from which he purports to seek relief and assistance. He has deliberately and consistently said that the court is a captive of the executive and an extension of my party. Throughout his campaign applicant has said that he will not approach he courts of the Republic of Zimbabwe.
“The applicant, having scandalised the court, cannot be heard until he purges his scandal. He is a legal practitioner. He took oath to uphold and obey the Constitution and laws of Zimbabwe. He remains an officer of the court and the third pillar of the State which he has decided to scandalise. He must purge his scandalous contempt.
If he declines to do so, the inquiry required by Section 93 (3) of the Constitution must be determined without being heard any further in these proceedings,” he said.
He said the court must order that the July 30 election was done in accordance with the Constitution and the Electoral Act, that the election was free, fair, transparent and credible and that it was a true reflection of the will of the people.
Mnangagwa went on to give a narrative of how he came to power last November last year, claiming former president Robert Mugabe had lost capacity of running the country and how the country got its independence from the British colonisers in 1980.
He claimed Chamisa had made overtures to establish some kind of an inclusive government, soon after he became president last November.
He said Chamisa did not have a proper campaign message, could not afford campaign adverts and that his party was dogged with divisions, which contributed to his failure to win the election.
“The applicant had no message at all in his campaign. He made nonsensical and childish promises to the electorate. He promised bullet trains that are faster than the world’s fastest trains and could compete with aeroplanes in making the Bulawayo-Harare trip in 45 minutes. He promises ‘spaghetti roads’ and airports in rural areas in a country whose health, transport, education and agricultural sectors required attention,” Mnangagwa said, adding that he campaign message was premised on tangible promises.
He further said Chamisa ought to prove his allegations with facts, adding that Chamisa had an opportunity to ask for a recount of the ballots upon announcement of the results. He said the results presented by Chamisa were based on dubious calculations from unverifiable documents.
Mnangagwa denied claims that MDC Alliance polling officers were forced to sign blank V11 forms and all the other irregularities that were alleged to have been committed by the electoral body, further denying allegations of distributing food hand-outs on partisan lines.
He is represented by top Harare lawyers, Paul Mangwana, Lewis Uriri and Tinomudaishe Chinyoka.