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Dr Omphile Marupi confirmed as the MP for Gwanda South

by Staff reporter
08 Mar 2024 at 07:30hrs | Views
The Electoral Court has dismissed an election petition filed by a Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) member Patrick Dube, who was challenging Zanu-PF MP Omphile Marupi's election in Gwanda South last year, saying he exaggerated the matter to ‘upset' the election that could have been conducted fairly, clearly and transparently.

Dube claimed Marupi, who was appointed Deputy Minister of Information, Publicity, and Broadcasting Services benefitted from various electoral irregularities such as voter intimidation, malpractices, rigging and vote buying.

The unsuccessful CCC member, represented by Mathonsi Ncube Law Chambers, had asked the court to overturn Marupi's victory as the MP and order fresh elections in Gwanda South.

However, in his ruling, Judge Justice David Mangota sitting at the Electoral Court on February 29, 2024, dismissed Dube's election petition with costs.

"The petitioner states that the election which took place in the constituency occurred in 11 wards. Judicial notice is taken of the fact that each ward had/has a number of polling stations. Whilst the number of polling stations which were set up in the constituency have not been mentioned, it is, in my view, improbable that the petitioner and his four agents were able to observe the conduct of an election which took place in the whole Gwanda South constituency," said the judge.

Justice Mangota said Dube appears to have exaggerated this aspect of his case with a view to upsetting the result of the election which, "to all intents and purposes, might have been conducted in a fair, clear and transparent manner. "

"His narration of events on this aspect of the case appears to be more improbable than it is possible, let alone probable," said the judge.

"(Dube),  it is observed, couches his petition on this aspect of the case in vague terms. He alleges, on the one hand, that voting in the constituency was marred by the illegal practice of such a serious magnitude as to upset the entire election process which took place in the constituency on 23 August, 2023."

The judge said Dube in the alternative, insists that he complied with the rule when he submitted V23 Forms which show the list of votes he intends to object to.

"The long and short of his stated conduct is to invite me to go on a fishing expedition with him, so to speak. The clear message which comes out of the observed position is that the petitioner is certain of what he wants to achieve but is not sure of how he should go about to achieve it," said Justice Mangota.

"He cannot be allowed to approbate and reprobate on one and the same matter as he is doing: Mare v Deas, 1912 AD 242 at 259. He should take a clearly defined course of action and proceed with it to its final conclusion. He cannot be allowed to suggest that, if the court is not with him in his first line of prosecuting his petition, then it should buy his alternative."

According to the judge, such conduct by Dube is consistent with that of a person who is prepared to have it all at all costs regardless of whether his petition has merit or has no merit. "That conduct should be frowned upon in the extreme sense of the word. The petitioner submitted only two V 23 Forms which accompanied his petition and, with only those, he seeks to persuade me to nullify the election which took place in the whole constituency on the strength of the two forms," said Justice Mangota.

"(Dube) is encouraged to be candid with the court when he files such a petition as he filed. If his intention was to object to the votes which appear in the two forms which he makes reference to, he was at liberty to state as such."

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