BY XOLISANI NCUBE
MDC ALLIANCE leader Nelson Chamisa has dragged President Emmerson Mnangagwa to court over allegations of electoral malpractices, including abuse of traditional leaders among other issues.
In an urgent chamber application filed at the Electoral Court through lawyers, Jeremiah Bamu of Mbidzo, Muchadehama and Makoni Legal Practitioners and supported by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, the Chamisa-led MDC-T argued that Mnangagwa early this month urged Zanu PF candidates to offeR trinkets to traditional leaders to obtain their
support in the elections.
The opposition party stated that Mnangagwa’s utterances on June 9 at a Zanu PF rally in Mutoko motivated ruling party members to engage in vote-buying activities ahead of polls.
“Mnangagwa’s utterances also invite chiefs and other traditional leaders to engage in intimidatory practices and coerce their subjects, who will be voters in the forthcoming elections, to cast their vote in favour of candidates sponsored by Zanu PF party including, but not limited to President Mnangagwa,” the court papers read.
The MDC-T argued that Mnangagwa’s utterances constitute a threat to free expression of political will and undermines the possibility of holding a free, fair and credible poll.
“President Mnangagwa’s actions, are in direct violation of the Constitution, the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13) and the Traditional Leaders Act (Chapter 29:17),” the oppositioN party said.
MDC-T also protested against the attendance of traditional leaders at political gatherings, citing the Mutoko rally.
It argued that this was a direct violation ofthe Constitution and electoral laws.
“Such attendance confirms fears that traditional leaders are partisan and pander to the whims of Zanu PF party.
Should such conduct persist, it will be impossible to hold a free and fair poll on 30 July 2018,” the opposition party stated.
Besides barring Mnangagwa, the MDC-T also wants the Electoral Court to order Chief Fortune Charumbira in his capacity as president of the National Council of Chiefs to circulate the obtained provisional court order widely.
The circulation would be through the auspices of the National Council of Chiefs and Provincial Assemblies of Chiefs.
Charumbira was censured for rallying other chiefs to support the ruling Zanu PF party in this year’s general elections, and was ordered to offer an apology by the High Court.
However, the traditional leader has stood his ground and refused to apologise and sought rescission of the judgment.
The party also complained about the conduct of Chief Zvimba, also known as Alfred Tome, who on June 4 in Zvimba South, Mashonaland West province addressed a Zanu Pf rally and publicly chanted the ruling party political slogans and openly declared support for
Mnangagwa and Zanu PF party before his subjects.
The matter is yet to be set down for hearing.