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Kwekwe Central legislator stays

by Staff Reporter
07 Dec 2013 at 09:10hrs | Views
A BULAWAYO High Court judge has granted an application for stay of execution filed by Kwekwe Central legislator Masango Matambanadzo, setting aside an order granted by Justice Andrew Mutema which had declared the seat vacant.

Matambanadzo was elected Member of the National Assembly for the constituency in the July 31 harmonised elections but MDC-T's Blessing Chebundo filed an election petition in case No EC34/13 with the Electoral Court.

Chebundo was seeking an order that the National Assembly seat be declared vacant and fresh elections held, an order granted by Justice Mutema sitting in the Electoral Court in Bulawayo on Monday.

Through his lawyer, Advocate Fred Gijima, Matambanadzo filed two applications before Justice Nokuthula Moyo – an urgent chamber application for stay of execution and the other for rescission of the judgment.

Matambanadzo filed an urgent chamber application for stay of execution to challenge the order which also called on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to hold fresh elections within 10 days. Justice Moyo granted an interim relief setting aside the judgment pending finalisation of the case.

"The order by this honourable court on 2 December be and is hereby stayed pending finalisation of the case EC 35/13. The final order sought by Matambanadzo was for Chebundo to show cause why a final order should not be made and that the order granted by Justice Mutema be overruled," ruled Justice Moyo.

Justice Mutema's judgment had read: "It is declared that the respondent (Matambanadzo) was not duly elected as a member of the National Assembly for Kwekwe Central in the harmonised July 31 elections.

"The parliamentary seat for Kwekwe be and is hereby declared vacant (and) ZEC to set a date for the elections within 10 days of the order and the cost of this petition is borne by the respondent."

His argument was that the judgment was granted in default of his appearance and he was not served with court papers challenging his election as Kwekwe Central MP.

The matter will be set down for hearing on a later date. Matambanadzo told the court that the Heads of Argument were issued on October 21, 2013, and served on Chebundo's lawyers on the same day but got no response pertaining to Chebundo's Heads of Argument and subsequently the Notice of Set Down.

"Two weeks passed by with nothing being received by my lawyers," said Matambanadzo.
He had submitted that declaring the seat vacant would make him suffer irreparable harm as the holding of fresh elections cannot be reversed if the application was not granted.

Several losing MDC-T candidates have filed petitions against Zanu-PF MPs contesting the outcome of the July 31 harmonised elections but their bids have fallen flat.

Another candidate Ezra Sibanda, who had challenged the outcome of Vungu Constituency elections after losing to Josphat Madubeko, had his withdrawal of the petition confirmed by Justice Mutema.

Source - Chronicle