Judge Scuttles Zim Elections Rigging Challenge

By Professor Matodzi

Harare, November 11, 2013 – A Zimbabwean judge has scuttled a petition in which Jameson Timba, the MDC-T losing parliamentary candidate for Mt Pleasant constituency and the party’s secretary for international relations was pushing in a bid to invalidate the election results owing to several irregularities.

High Court Judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu on Monday dismissed an application filed by Timba seeking an order compelling the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to furnish him with an electronic copy of the country’s register of voters and to open and examine election materials used in his constituency during the disputed July harmonised elections.

Timba, who lost the Mt Pleasant seat to Zanu PF’s Jason Pasadi wanted the electronic copy of the voters’ roll for “ease of analysis and scrutiny” after being given a printed copy of the register. He also wanted election materials as evidence to bolster his case in the election petition that he has filed in the High Court seeking an order to invalidate the election results.

But Justice Bhunu on Monday dismissed Timba’s request to be provided with an electronic version of the voters’ roll stating that the MDC-T official must show that the suspesive condition relating to the non-functionality of the electronic equipment as alleged by ZEC and Tobaiwa Mudede, the Registrar-General of Voters’ in July has been fulfilled. ZEC and Mudede in July claimed that they will supply the MDC-T party with the electronic voters’ roll as “soon” as its electronic equipment became operational.

ZEC chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau has already opposed Timba’s request and has asked the High Court not to allow for the re-opening of sealed ballot boxes.

Makarau argued that opening of the Mt Pleasant constituency’s electoral residue would be cumbersome because of the harmonised nature of the elections as some packets containing the ballot papers may have been sealed in a presidential or local authority ballot box.

Timba’s lawyers argue that ZEC announced that 18 092 people had voted in the July 31 elections while at the constituency centre it was announced that 12 165 voters had cast their ballots.

The former Minister of State in former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Office is also alleging that Mt Pleasant constituency was flooded with many police officers who voted in while they do not reside in that area. The MDC official believes that the voters roll and other election material will confirm the irregularities that he cited in his election petition which is set to be heard soon.

 

Apart from Timba, several MDC-T legislators are challenging results in some parliamentary constituencies in which Zanu PF representatives were declared winners in an election described as a farce by Tsvangirai.