THE High Court has dismissed a petition by losing MDC Alliance candidate for Bulawayo South Mr Muvirimi Francis Mangwendeza who was challenging Zanu PF candidate Mr Rajesh Kumara Indukant Modi’s victory in last year’s harmonised elections.
In his petition filed at the Bulawayo High Court citing Cde Modi and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) as respondents, Mr Mangwendeza alleged that the polls were tainted with irregularities.
Mr Mangwendeza, through his lawyers Ncube Attorneys, sought an order nullifying the results of the July 30 harmonised elections for the Bulawayo South seat.
He wanted the seat to be declared vacant.
Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Thompson Mabhikwa ruled that the petition lacked merit and failed to meet the required legal standards.
“In casu, a reading of the petition gives an impression that the petitioner did not have a chief elections agent or polling agent. There is no mention of their role, observations or any complaints received or made by them on the alleged irregularities,” he said.
In dismissing the petition, Justice Mabhikwa said Mr Mangwendeza failed to prove to the court the alleged malpractices and irregularities which he claimed affected the outcome of the election.
“No cogent explanation has been given as to why the first respondent (Mr Modi) should be so punished. Accordingly, it is ordered that the petition is dismissed with costs on ordinary scale. The election result for the National Assembly seat for Bulawayo South Constituency pronouncing the first respondent as duly elected winner, stands,” ruled Justice Mabhikwa.
Mr Mangwendeza contested with several other candidates from other political parties as well as independent candidates.
In his founding affidavit, he said on July 3, Zec allegedly published a malicious statement declaring that he was part of the 24 people who had withdrawn from the race without his knowledge and verification.
He argued the statement de-campaigned him as those who supported him would have thought he was no longer in the race.
Mr Mangwendeza said his loss in last year’s July 30 election was largely due to Zec’s declaration, claiming to have discovered the anomaly on July 28 during the inspection of ballot papers.
“The election for the Member of the National Assembly seat for Bulawayo South on July 30, 2018 was not conducted in accordance with the principles laid down in the Electoral Act and such mistake or non-compliance did affect the outcome of the election. The election of the first respondent (Mr Modi) in such an election therefore cannot stand and has to be set aside,” he said.
Mr Mangwendeza said during the inspection he realised that some ballot papers for the MP did not have his name on them as a candidate.
Mr Mangwendeza said on July 29, it turned out that more ballot papers had his name missing in ward 21 and ward 6. He said Zec indicated that their system was fool-proof, but it turned out that this was not the case as it emerged that not all the ballot papers in question were cancelled.