THE Electoral Court has confirmed Cde Johnson Madhuku (Zanu-PF) as the legitimate National Assembly Member for Bikita East following his resounding victory during last year’s harmonised election.
Cde Madhuku beat MDC-Alliance’s two candidates, Mr Bornface Mudzingwa and Jacob Ngarivhume. Unhappy with the election result, Mr Mudzingwa filed a petition at the Electoral Court, arguing that the election had been rigged.
Justice Charles Hungwe, sitting as a judge of the Electoral Court, last week threw out the petition and confirmed Cde Madhuku’s victory.
He ruled that the petition had been filed out of time.
Justice Hungwe also threw out Mr Mudzingwa’s “second-thought” request for condonation of late filing of the papers.
“The application for condonation of late filing of an election petition by Mr Bornface Mudzingwa be and is hereby dismissed with costs,” he said.
“Johnson Madhuku be and is hereby declared the duly elected candidate for Bikita East parliamentary constituency for the 2018 harmonised elections which took place in Zimbabwe on 30 July 2018.”
Advocate Lewis Uriri, instructed by Mr Aston Musunga of Musunga and Associates, represented Cde Madhuku, while Adv Tawanda Zhuwarara acted for Mr Mudzingwa.
Justice Hungwe said the election petition was filed outside the permissible 14-day period.
He said the relevant laws did not allow extension of the 14-day period.
“The standard approach is that once a petitioner has failed to meet the strict timelines set in the statute, he is beyond the court’s jurisdiction,” said Justice Hungwe.
“He cannot be heard. There is no room for indulgences nor an appeal to fair play, equity or clemency.
“The comparative analysis clearly demonstrated that the time limit for filing an election petition is non-extendable.”
Mr Mudzingwa participated in the election and lost to Cde Madhuku. Dissatisfied with the outcome, he lodged the petition on August 22 last year, outside the permissible 14-day period.