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Judge reserves ruling on 12 CCC MP candidates' nomination challenge

by Staff reporter
26 Jul 2023 at 19:46hrs | Views
The Bulawayo High Court has reserved judgment in a court challenge seeking the nullification of 12 CCC national assembly candidates' nomination by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

The challenge was filed by 12 Elected Early Democrats (EED) party members who alleged the nomination papers were filed outside the time stipulated by the country's electoral law.

Electoral Court Judge Evangelista Kabasa on Wednesday said she was going to make a judgment on the preliminary points raised by the respondents.

The applicants, represented by Nqobizitha Ndlovu from Messers Maseko Law Chambers, were seeking an order declaring that the actions of the ZEC PEO were illegal.

Welshman Ncube, appearing for CCC, argued that the issue was before the wrong court.

He highlighted that the review application could only be brought by way of a court application, not as an urgent chamber application.

"A court application for review must include, in the face of the application, the relief that must be sought. None of the applications indicate relief sought," he said.

Ncube also argued the applicants did not treat this as a matter of urgency because they did not file the application immediately but filed it on July 16, about 25 days after sitting of the nomination court last month.

"When you have not acted immediately, you must then explain the delay," he said.

"These applicants don't acknowledge there is a delay. If you expect the court to come to your aid on an urgent basis, treat your case as important as well," Ncube said.

Ncube also stated that a party seeking legal action must present evidence of established jurisdiction.

No such facts were presented, he said, adding that there was no good reason to take action.

Justice Kabasa argued that electoral matters were inherently urgent, as per Rule 31 of the Electoral Appeals Act of 1995.

However, Ncube argues that applications should be filed as court applications, and even if they are inherently urgent, the court will decline their inherent urgency.

Ncube said the court declines assistance for applicants who did not treat the matter as urgent, indicating that the court must not treat it as urgent.

ZEC lawyer Tawanda Kanengoni said he associated himself with Ncube on the urgency issue.

He added that electoral matters are considered urgent by electoral court rules, but if applicants appeared on the eve of an election and demanded hearing on an urgent basis, the court must question their reasons for not attending nomination court.

The court must decide whether to entertain the applicants, he said.

He also concurred with Ncube's assertions that the matter was before the wrong court and should be struck off the court roll.

In response to the urgency matter, Ndlovu based his argument on a previous Harare High Court judgment, which asserted that electoral matters are of public interest and have to be resolved on an urgent basis because they affected the executive and legislative branches.

He argued that the matter is still ripe and not moot, and the state can deal with it without labeling it moot.

Ndlovu insisted that, in terms of Section 62(4), appeals must be instituted within eight weeks of the proceedings, and complained that the applicants were within the eight week window period.

Ndlovu acknowledged that the position filed does not specify the specific relief requested beyond noting that it is an application for review.

Source - zimlive
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