Zanu PF candidate for Binga ward 10 by-election Ronald Muleya has filed a High Court application seeking to bar the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) candidate, John Sikabotu, from contesting in polls scheduled for Saturday claiming he owes Binga Rural District Council US$1 330 in rates.
Muleya filed the application at the Harare High Court, instead of the Bulawayo High Court seeking the disqualification of his rival in terms of section 119 of the Electoral Act, which provides that no person is qualified to contest as a councillor if they owe council for more than 120 days on the nomination day.
The ward 10 seat fell vacant after Sikabotu was recalled by the Douglas Mwonzora-led MDC Alliance party.
Sikabotu says he hopes to bounce back wearing the CCC jacket in the Saturday by-election.
In the 2018 elections, Sikabotu garnered 1 168 votes against Zanu PF candidate Clay Mudimba’s 412 votes.
In the High Court application, Muleya cites Sikabotu and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) as respondents.
He states that Sikabotu owes the Binga RDC US$1 330 as at January 31 for the council-leased Manjolo communal land measuring 380 square metres.
Sikabotu is alleged to have defaulted since 2021.
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“The first respondent cannot contest the election while depriving council of the much-needed revenue, which if paid would go a long way in the provision of service delivery by council, and which I would enjoy as a resident,” Muleya said in his founding affidavit.
In a supporting affidavit, Binga RDC chief executive Joshua Muzamba confirmed that the CCC candidate owed council.
Sikabotu was declared duly nominated by Zec on November 11.
Sikabotu is expected to file a notice of opposition within 10 days after the date of receipt of the notice in terms of the provisional order.
However, in a certificate of urgency, his lawyer Nickel Mushangwe said it was obvious that the matter would be heard after December 3, 2022, the date of the by-election.