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Zanu-PF handed Bulawayo parliamentary seats

by Staff reporter
27 Jul 2023 at 16:07hrs | Views
Zanu-PF is poised to win Bulawayo parliamentary seats for the first time in 23 years after 12 Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) candidates were barred from contesting.

A High Court ruling on Thursday barred the 12 CCC candidates and other opposition candidates from contesting the August 23, 2023 elections, effectively handing the seats to Zanu-PF.

The candidates were barred after 12 registered voters filed a lawsuit alleging that their nomination papers were filed after the deadline of 4 pm on June 21.

The court ruled in favour of the applicants, saying that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) had illegally approved the nomination papers of the CCC candidates.

The ruling means that Zanu-PF candidates will now be unopposed in the three constituencies of Cowdray Park, Bulawayo Central, and Bulawayo South.

High Court Judge Justice Nokuthula Moyo handed down the judgment on behalf of Justice Bongani Ndlovu who was said to be ill.

"It is ordered that the first respondent (ZEC) is prohibited from including the names of the following respondents in the preparation of ballot papers to be used in the general election scheduled on 23 Augusts 2023. The respondents shall jointly and severally pay the cost of the suit," Justice Moyo said.

"These are Obert Manduna, Eric Gono, Douglas Ncube, Gift Siziba, Samplous Maplanka, Prince Dube, Nqobizitha Ndlovu, Desmond Makaza, Bajila Collins Descent,  Sichelesile Mahlangu  Desire Moyo, Adelaide Mhlanga, Nompilo Bhebhe, Surrender Kapoikuu, Raphael Pashor Sibanda, Ntandoyenkonsi Minehle Gumede and Frank Mhlanga."

CCC National Spokesperson, Fadzai Mahere, said the party would appeal the ruling.

"The Citizens Coalition for Change will appeal against the Bulawayo Judgment. Citizens have the right to nominate candidates within the ambit of the law and to be represented by MPs that they choose in a free and fair election. The right to parliamentary representation of choice is sacred," she said.

In an interview with CITE, Kucala Phulu, a lawyer, said while the affected candidates could always appeal the judgement, the time of which to bring this process to a finality "will simply not be there because elections were around the corner."

"The political wave will simply sweep everyone such that legal processes at some point will be left vacant," Phulu said.

United Zimbabwe Alliance (UZA) candidate for Bulawayo North, Reverend Frank Mhlanga, who was also barred from contesting, said the decision was "frustrating."

"Clearly this means Zimbabweans and in Bulawayo province, in my constituency in particular where I was to be running for MP, we have been robbed. This is an indication that our constitution is not upheld," he said.

Mhlanga queried: "How can one person run a race on his own without a competitor then you call that person a winner. How do you stand up and declare that you have won in a race on your own. It could have been much better if we had been told that there would be no elections in Bulawayo then we wouldn't have wasted all our time."

He added that he was at the Nomination Court on that day from 9.30 am in the morning until 3 am next morning when the court ended. "Then you hear that Reverend Mhlanga, a candidate for Bulawayo North was not in court, how do you explain that? May God bless Zimbabwe!" Mhlanga said.

The ruling has been met with widespread condemnation from opposition parties and civil society groups. They have accused the government of using the courts to rig the elections in favour of Zanu-PF.

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