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Zimbabwe: Mnangagwa's lawyers ask court to throw out Chamisa's election petition


Zimbabwe’s president-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa has filed submissions in the country’s Constitutional Court opposing a challenge to his victory by main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, one of Mnangagwa’s lawyers said on Wednesday.

Chamisa has said the July 30 vote was rigged and challenged the result which gave Mnangagwa 2.46 million votes against 2.15 million votes for him.

Paul Mangwana, the ruling party’s legal affairs secretary and one of Mnangagwa’s lawyers said Chamisa would now be required to respond to Mnangagwa’s application before the matter is set down for a hearing.

We have successfully filed our opposition papers to this application, which we think is just a waste of time but that’s for the courts to decide.

“We have successfully filed our opposition papers to this application, which we think is just a waste of time but that’s for the courts to decide,” Mangwana told reporters outside the Constitutional Court.

“Our papers are clearly showing that, one, the MDC Alliance has not complied with the rules of court and also that they do not have a case on merit,” he added.

ZANU-PF case

Another of Mnangagwa’s lawyers, Lewis Uriri told the official Herald newspaper’s online edition that he had asked the court to dismiss Chamisa’s application, which he said had missed a 10 a.m. (0800 GMT) deadline last Friday.

“We have filed our opposing papers,” said Adv. Uriri adding, “We will show the court that Chamisa’s lawyers had until Friday 10 am to file and serve their papers.”

ZANU-PF’s legal team has also argued that Chamisa and his MDC-Alliance cannot prove that presidential election results announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) were wrong as they did not make use of a provision in the Electoral Act which allows for the recounting of votes within 48 hours.

Chamisa’s case

Chamisa is challenging the ZEC announced presidential election results that indicate that President Mnangagwa won the elections with 50.8% of the votes cast, against Chamisa’s 44.3%.

ALSO READ: Julius Malema tells ‘too old’ Mnangagwa to serve one term

Among other things, Chamisa questions the announcement of presidential election results by commissioners other than the ZEC chair, as prescribed by the country’s electoral laws.

Chamisa cites other irregularities including the announcement of results on a provincial basis instead of per constituency, and says a series of mathematical errors during the tallying process have a material outcome on the outcome of the elction.

It’s now up to the Constitutional Court

The constitution requires a losing presidential candidate to file any challenge within seven days of a winner being declared.

The Constitutional Court, whose decision is final, can uphold the result, declare a new winner, order a fresh election within 60 days or make any other ruling it deems fit.

The court must rule within 14 days of an election challenge being lodged. The days do not include weekends and public holidays according to the court rules.

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