Zanu PF politburo member Jonathan Moyo’s political fate hangs in the balance, as his attempt to force a recount in the Tsholotsho North elections might be stillborn.
The winning candidate, Roselene Nkomo, has taken up the matter with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) challenging Moyo’s intention as illegal.
The recount was due today, but it is unclear whether it will still go ahead after Nkomo’s lawyers wrote to Zec saying there was no justification for the move.
Nkomo, the wife of outgoing Minister of Water Resources Development and Management, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, beat Moyo by slightly over 200 votes in last week’s poll. Moyo, however, appealed for a recount which Zec granted.
However, Nkomo’s lawyers, Phulu and Ncube Legal Practitioners, on Monday wrote to Zec chief elections officer Lovemore Sekeramayi challenging the electoral body’s directive for a recount, arguing it was unlawful.
“This notice comes as a surprise to our client, Roselene Nkomo, the MDC-T candidate for the constituency who won this seat when results were declared,” reads the letter.
“The notice does not state whether the recount is at the initiative of another candidate in terms of Section 67A (4) or it’s an initiative of Zec, Section 67A (4).
“The procedure set out in Section 67A (2) (4) has not been followed.”
They argued that Nkomo was not notified immediately about the request for the recounting according to the Electoral Law.
“Nor were they notified immediately of the specific number of votes believed to have been miscounted and how the miscount occurred and how they alleged miscount affected the elections,” the letter continues.
“Our client was not notified immediately of the time and date on which the complaint was received by the commission.
“Your commission has proceeded to order a recount in terms of such Section 3 (b) without concerning yourselves about sub-sections 2(a) (b) (c) and (3).
“In that regard, the commission reached the decision that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the alleged miscount of the votes occurred and that if it did, it affected the results without giving our client an opportunity to state its side of the story.
“This is clear violation of the audi alteram partem (hear the other side) rule.”
The lawyers said Nkomo feared that the ballot boxes could have been tampered with since she had not been guarding them.
“Surely with the allegations of electoral malpractices, our client has reasonable fears that the ballot boxes may have been tampered with,” the lawyers continue.
“In the result, our client is objecting to this recount in the strongest terms for lack of compliance with the procedure on the parts of Zec and also due to the high likelihood that these boxes have been tampered with.”
Contacted for comment yesterday, Zec deputy chairperson Joyce Kazembe said she had not seen Nkomo’s challenge.
“I have not seen the letter,” she said.“I also do not know if the recounting is going ahead.”
Moyo is one of a handful of high-profile Zanu PF candidates that fell by the wayside after they lost last week’s elections.
Moyo may have fallen on his own sword, as he was one of the most vocal people calling for the holding of elections, with or without reforms.
Zec had ordered a recount of Tsholotsho North and Mudzi South ballot papers, which was won by independent candidate Jonathan Samukange.
However, the electoral body has since reversed its order for the recount of Mudzi South ballot papers after Samukange challenged the decision.