MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa’s election petition, challenging results announced by Zec has been set down for hearing next week Wednesday. Chief Justice Luke Malaba has declared Build Zimbabwe and Alliance leader Noah Manyika and Daniel Shumba of the United Democratic Alliance will not be allowed to make their presentations or submit their petition.
Manyika has joined his MDC Alliance counterpart Nelson Chamisa in disputing results of the July 30 presidential election, citing alleged systematic manipulation of figures to ensure President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa’s victory.
Manyika, in his response to Chamisa’s election petition filed at the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) last Friday, claimed that the tallying of votes for the presidential poll by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) provided clear evidence of systematic manipulation of the voting results to avoid a run-off election. In court papers filed yesterday, Manyika said there was sufficient evidence to warrant the nullification of Mnangagwa’s victory.
Manyika was one of the 23 presidential candidates cited as respondents in Chamisa’s court challenge where the youthful leader is seeking to overturn Mnangagwa’s 50,8% electoral victory.
He claimed there were glaring irregularities in Zec’s own published results as well as analysis of V11 and V23a forms.
Manyika said there were discrepancies between the results published by Zec in the form of spreadsheets on its website and on compact discs provided to political parties and the differences showed a deliberate “manipulation of results”.
“The Zec’s published results show that Mnangagwa had 4 904 votes less than the announced results. In addition, Zec’s published results also reflected a higher number of votes cast, which further reduced Mnangagwa’s percentage of the vote,” he said in his affidavit. “According to Zec’s published results, Mr Mnangagwa avoided a run-off by a mere 31 830 votes.”
Manyika said Zec’s published results demonstrated that several polling stations were double-counted in computing the results and an analysis by one Edgar Otumba Ouko provided several examples of double-counting of polling stations in the Rushinga and Mbire constituencies to give Mnangagwa an additional 7 703 votes.
He said results at eight pairs of polling stations had identical tallies for all 23 presidential candidates, including an identical number of total votes and spoilt ballots, a trend described by experts as near-impossible.
Manyika said Zec’s published results showed duplicated results in another 20 pairs of polling stations (40 polling stations in total), where Mnangagwa and Chamisa purportedly received a uniform number of votes in different polling stations.
“Given the extent of this duplication, the results from these 40 polling stations must also be treated as highly suspicious,” Manyika said. “On my calculations, the polling stations with duplicated results accounted for at least 16 199 votes, which gave Mr Mnangagwa an additional 9 592 votes. I submit that these votes, which are a product of double counting, must be disregarded and excluded from the votes obtained by Mr Mnangagwa,” Manyika argued.
United Democratic Alliance (UDA) presidential candidate Daniel Shumba, who had filed in support of Chamisa’s challenge was not happy with Justice Malaba’s decision.
“We can’t have anybody to say if you are supporting Chamisa we can’t hear you. We can only hear anyone supporting Mnangagwa,” Shumba said.
“Respondents must be heard, you cannot muzzle people. There is nothing in the Constitutional Court that allows for the muzzling of litigants.”
According to Shumba, Justice Malaba accused the other candidates filing in support of Chamisa of trying to bring their arguments through the back door. The top judge argued if the other losing presidential candidates were against Mnangagwa’s victory, they should have filed their own petitions within the seven days prescribed by the law, not to hide behind the MDC Alliance leader’s court challenge.
But Shumba said his right to be heard was guaranteed in sections 165 and 167 of the Constitution.