Supreme court hears opposition legislators challenge of electoral fraud

THE Supreme Court will on Friday 24 May 2019 preside over the hearing
and determination of an appeal filed by Gift Machoka Konjana of MDC
Alliance party who is seeking an order to overturn the Electoral
Court’s decision confirming Dexter Nduna of the ruling ZANU PF party
as the legislator for Chegutu West constituency.

The Supreme Court will hear the matter at 9:30am at Mashonganyika
Building in Harare in which Konjana also wants the matter to be
referred to trial before a different judge to consider the legal
challenge over the erroneous declaration of Nduna as the winner of the
parliamentary election by Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

In his appeal Konjana, who is represented by Advocate Tererai
Mafukidze instructed by Tarisai Mutangi of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights, argued that Electoral Court Judge Justice Mary Zimba-Dube
erred in October 2018 in finding that his petition against Nduna was
fatally defective solely on account of being brought on notice yet
section 169 of the Electoral Act makes such notice mandatory.

Justice Zimba-Dube in October 2018 dismissed Konjana’s election
petition on the basis that he had filed a defective election petition.

But in his appeal, the MDC Alliance party’s losing parliamentary
candidate charged that Justice Zimba-Dube erred by declining to
exercise discretion to condone non-compliance with its rules upon
erroneously finding that the electoral law does not vest in it the
competence to regulate its process yet section 171(9) of the Electoral
Act vests such competence.

Konjana argued that Justice Zimba-Dube blundered by placing no
significance on the merits of his petition in view of the fact that
ZEC acknowledged under oath the error that resulted in the undue
return complained against.

As relief, Konjana wants the Electoral Court’s decision to be set
aside and in its place be substituted with an order to the effect that
the matter be referred to trial on the merits before a different Judge
of the Electoral Court.