Latest News Editor's Choice


Opinion / Columnist

ZEC unlawfully adjourned Nomination court to benefit CCC

29 Jun 2023 at 06:50hrs | Views
INTRODUCTION
In light of the continuing peddling of falsehoods by CCC – exemplified by the false claims by @Cde_Ostallos as reported by @citezw in the attached tweet –  it is in the public interest to show incontrovertible evidence that in Bulawayo, CCC in fact botched up the submission of the nomination papers of its 12 constituency candidates and all its proportional representation partylists, with the result of altogether not submitting its 10 partylist candidates for Bulawayo metropolitan council.

CCC should count itself lucky that no political party has held it to account for its nomination day mess in Bulawayo, which resulted in the party benefiting from what was clearly an unlawful adjournment of the Nomination Court from the nomination day on 21 June 2023, to a non-nomination day on 22 June 2023.

Given CCC continuing falsehoods, blame game and finger pointing – while refusing to take responsibility for ‘strategic ambiguity' shenanigans and incompetence, it has become important and necessary to set the record straight for students of electoral politics and posterity by providing verifiable information on what happened in Bulawayo on the fateful day.

The Nomination Court which sat in Bulawayo on Wednesday 21 June 2023 was illegally adjourned by @ZECzim to Thursday 22 June 2023 – in violation of section 46 of the Electoral Act – to accommodate all 12 CCC constituency candidates whose filed nomination papers were fatally defective and thus incurable by 4 pm, when the Court should have closed by law; and the same Nomination Court illegally accommodated all of CCC's proportional representation candidates for Senate, women's quota, youth quota and provincial/metropolitan councils whose partylists were not filed by 4 pm.

BACKGROUND
It's a verifiable fact that CCC's nomination papers for its 12 constituency candidates, and its Senate, women's quota and youth quota proportional representation partylist candidates were not submitted by 4 pm on 21 November 2023 but were finalised circa 2 am on 22 June 2023. Even with the illegal adjournments that were extended to it beyond 4 pm on 21 June 2023 up to 22 June 2023, which was not Nomination Court Day, CCC still failed to submit its proportional representation partylist for Bulawayo metropolitan council.

CCC parliamentary candidates started trooping into the Nomination Court in Bulawayo some 90 or so minutes before 4 pm, when the Court was set to close. The nomination papers were sets of 12, and the papers in the set had been processed and countersigned by CCC in identical ways. Unfortunately for CCC all of the papers in the 12 sets had a common fatal error which rendered all of them fatally defective and thus inadmissible.

This meant that each of the 12 CCC candidates had to fill fresh nomination papers. No single CCC candidate completed or submitted fresh nomination papers before 4 pm on 21 June 2023, the Nomination Court Day.  Put differently, by 4 pm on 21 June 2023, CCC did not have before the Nomination Court any pending nomination paper for any of the 12 constituencies or the proportional representation partylist whose consideration was pending.

EVIDENCE
Around 5:38 pm (CAT) on 21 June 2023, well after 4 pm the closing time of the Nomination Court, @citezw posted this tweet:



"BulawayoNomCourt: CCC candidates, Desmond Makaza, Nicholas Watson and Minenhle Gumede are being told that names of nominators written by party head office are not the names on their forms. They must get new forms and make sure those names from party head offices are the ones who sign for them".

The clear message is that no valid or pending nomination papers were before the Nomination Court because none had been submitted.

Around 6:20 pm (CAT) on 21 June 2023, again well after 4 pm, a Twitter account @M_Jay94 posted this tweet, asking a direct question to Honourable Nicola Watson:



"Is this true @NicolaWatson13?"

Honourable Watson responded around 8:16 pm:



"Yes and we have done so and await to be called back to submit corrected page but in fact it was an error on all 12 sets submitted".

Below is a link to the full record regarding the above:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1OvVnf3LPqE2SLn9N3cLL8i_VC4H6_CXs/view?usp=drive_link

On the day, the foregoing was supported by the following tweet and the video attached to it, posted around 4:54 pm:



"CCC candidates are requesting to submit their papers in Bulawayo after they failed to meet the 4pm deadline. The nomination court has closed".

It's clear from this evidence that CCC candidates failed to meet the 4 pm deadline on 21 June 2023, the Nomination Court Day, and the Court closed when the candidates and their nomination paper were not pending in Court, when some candidates claimed to have been in the corridors [hall] of the Court - and not in any queue because they were all by themselves since ZanuPF candidates had finalised their papers first thing in the morning after the Court opened its door. By 4:54 pm others CCC candidates were not even anywhere near the precincts of the Court.

IMPLICATIONS

Section 46(6) of the Electoral Act provides that:

"The nomination officer shall in open court—
(a) announce whether any candidate has lodged his or her nomination paper before the sitting of the court and, if so, the name of every such candidate; and
(b) receive any further nominations for election as constituency member of the National Assembly for the constituency for which he or she is the nomination officer".

And section 46(7) provides that:

"No nomination paper shall be received by the nomination officer in terms of subsection (6) after four o'clock in the afternoon of nomination day or, where there is more than one nomination day for the election concerned, the last such nomination day:

Provided that, if at that time a candidate or his or her chief election agent is present in the court and ready to submit a nomination paper in respect of the candidate, the nomination officer shall give him or her an opportunity to do so".

Therefore, in the first place and based on verifiable prima facie evidence presented above, none of the 12 CCC constituency candidates and the proportional representation partylists nor their chief election agents in Bulawayo were present inside the Nomination "after four o'clock in the afternoon of nomination day" Court and "ready to submit a nomination paper" in respect of their candidacies.

None.

As such, their nomination papers should not have been received after 4 pm on nomination day, in terms of section 46(7) of the Electoral Act.

In the second place, section 46(8) of the Electoral Act provides that:

"The nomination officer shall examine every nomination paper lodged with him or her which has not been previously examined by him or her in order to ascertain whether it is in order and shall give any candidate or his or her chief election agent an opportunity to rectify any defect not previously rectified and may adjourn the sitting of the court for that purpose from time to time:

Provided that the sitting shall not be adjourned to any other day that is not a nomination day".

As a matter of verifiable fact, after 4 pm there were no nomination papers lodged with the nomination officer, which had not been previously examined by the nomination officer, to warrant giving CCC candidates further opportunities to rectify any anomalies.

In any event, although this was not the case but even if there were such nomination papers lodged with the nomination officer that had not been previously examined by the nomination officer and which warranted giving the CCC candidates further opportunities trough adjournments of the Court to rectify any anomalies, section 46(8) of the Electoral Act is clear that "the sitting shall not be adjourned to any other day that is not a nomination day".

The Nomination Court adjourned on 21 June 2023 to 12 midnight and took a break for 10 minutes before sitting again. That's when CCC candidates started receiving fresh nominations papers from CCC candidates, and this process went on for several hours into the morning of 22 June 2023, in blatant violation of section 46(8) which provides that the sitting of the Nomination Court:

"…shall not be adjourned to any other day that is not a nomination day"!

Source - newsday
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.