THE High Court has declared Kwekwe Central House of Assembly Constituency seat vacant and ordered the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to hold fresh elections within 10 days.
By Charles Laiton
High Court judge Justice Andrew Mutema, sitting in an electoral court made the ruling in Bulawayo yesterday.
The order which was delivered in default by Justice Mutema followed an application by losing MDC-T House of Assembly candidate Blessing Chebundo, who unsuccessfully contested the July 31 harmonised election.
The constituency was won by Zanu PF’s Masango Matambanadzo also known as ‘Blackman’.
Justice Mutema’s order read: “It is declared that the respondent (Matambanadzo) was not duly elected as a member of the House of 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.”
In the petition, Chebundo was represented by Nomore Hlabano while Matambanadzo’s lawyers who were not cited in the court papers, failed to attend.
In Harare, several MDC-T petitions have fallen by the wayside while the opposition party has voluntarily withdrawn some of the petitions leaving just a few pending so far.
Harare High Court judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu last week declared Zanu PF candidates for Marondera East and Hurungwe West constituencies, Jeremiah Chiwetu and Temba Mliswa winners of the July 31 House of Assembly elections respectively after dismissing electoral petitions filed by MDC-T losing candidates Tracy Mutinhiri and Wilson Makanyange.
The MDC-T candidates had alleged corruption and intimidation by Zanu PF candidates and traditional leaders.
In his ruling, Justice Bhunu said the rules required that once a petitioner named a person as having engaged in corrupt or illegal practices, he would be obliged to give the full name and address of the person guilty of such conduct and serve a copy of the summons on the person to enable him or her to respond.