Makarau Scuttles Opening Of Zim Ballot Boxes

By Professor Matodzi

Harare, November 6, 2013 – The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has rejected a request by Jameson Timba, the MDC-T losing parliamentary candidate for Mt Pleasant constituency and the party’s secretary for international relations 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 wants the 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 ZEC chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau, on Wednesday opposed Timba’s request and asked the High Court not to allow the re-opening of the sealed ballot boxes.

Makarau, who indicated that she had held a meeting with other ZEC commissioners and the organisation’s secretariat before preparing her opposing affidavit 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.

“How does the applicant effect his order without at the same time unsealing ballot boxes for elections that are not the subject of any legal challenge or any order of court for their sealing,” Makarau argued in her affidavit, a copy of which was seen by Radio VOP.

Last week, the electoral management body made a U-turn after its lawyers Nyika Kanengoni and Partners had initially agreed to a consent order with Timba’s lawyer Trust Maanda of Maunga and Maanda Legal Practitioners to re-open the ballot boxes.

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 “fraud” and a “farce” by Tsvangirai.