ZANU PF’s attempts to regain control of parliament through challenging the results of the House of Assembly elections in the Electoral Court started crumbling this week after the court dismissed two petitions.
The MDC-T’s hopes of gaining more seats were also dashed by the court’s rulings.
The court dismissed the petitions from both sides on the grounds that they were filed out of time, cited wrongly the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) as a respondent and service of the petitions was done at the party headquarters instead of respondent’s residential or business address.
Both Zanu PF and MDC filed 105 petitions and this week’s rulings by the court indicated that all the challenges from the two parties would be thrown out.
Judge President Justice Rita Makarau on Wednesday dismissed a petition lodged by the MDC challenging the House of Assembly poll results for Mutoko, Mutoko South, Mutoko East and Mutoko North.
Makarau dismissed the application on the grounds that they were filed outside the set deadline and at the wrong addresses.
“It is common cause that the petition before me was not served within the 10 days stipulated in Section 169 (of the Electoral Act),” Makarau ruled. “It ought to have been served on or before 24 April, having been presented to court on April 14 2008. The petition was only served on May 12, 28 days after presentation.”
Another electoral court judge, Justice Samuel Kudya, had earlier this week dismissed a petition by independent candidate Hilary Simbarashe who had challenged Zanu PF candidate Mabel Chinomona’s victory in Mutoko South alleging that there were irregularities in the voting process.
Kudya dismissed Simbarashe’s petition on Monday on the basis of the petitioner’s failure to provide security for the costs of witnesses and himself as the petitioner.
Simbarashe had in his petition cited ZEC, which according to the electoral law cannot be sued.
However, alternately he could have cited the ZEC chairman George Chiweshe.
The petitioners in the two dismissed cases have 15 working days to appeal and if they fail to do so this could see the other remaining cases falling away.
After these petition dismissals, the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC’s
chances of gaining control of parliament on its own have been thwarted and they will need to unite with the Mutambara-led MDC to take charge of the House. —— Staff Writer