HomeNewsConCourt to decide on Chegutu vote-swapping case

ConCourt to decide on Chegutu vote-swapping case



THE Constitutional Court (ConCourt) will today make a determination on an application by MDC Alliance candidate Gift Konjana, who is seeking leave to appeal against a Supreme Court judgment which ruled that his petition to challenge Chegutu West MP Dexter Nduna’s victory in the July 2018 elections was filed after the prescribed three-month period had lapsed.

Konjana claims that soon after announcing the results, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) admitted that it had erred in declaring Nduna the winner but refused to nullify the results saying it was the mandate of the Electoral Court.

In a statement yesterday, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said Konjana recently filed an application at the ConCourt seeking an order granting him leave to appeal against the decision of the Supreme Court, which on March 23, 2021 upheld the Electoral Court’s decision, saying it had no jurisdiction over an election petition appeal once the three-month prescribed period has expired.

The matter was then removed from the Supreme Court roll.  But in his appeal to the Supreme Court on November 2, 2018, Konjana argued that the Electoral Court judge, Justice Mary Zimba-Dube had erred and misdirected herself on October 18, 2018 when she rejected his election petition on the grounds that it was fatally defective.

“In the Electoral Court, Konjana had argued that Zec officials had made a mistake by swapping his 121 votes in one of the wards in Chegutu West constituency with those of another candidate Simon Kache, who had gotten just one vote.

“The Zec officials confirmed that if the mistakes were corrected, Konjana should have been declared the duly elected legislator as he had in fact garnered 10 949 votes compared to Nduna’s 10 932,” ZLHR said in a statement.

But Supreme Court judges of appeal Justice Bharat Patel and Justice Chinembiri Bhunu removed Konjana’s appeal from the court’s roll after ruling that he had failed to comply with the law which required him to have the election petition heard within the prescribed three-month period.

Konjana, through his lawyer Tererai Mafukidze, instructed by ZLHR’s Moses Nkomo, has petitioned the ConCourt seeking an order granting him leave to appeal to the apex court against the decision of the Supreme Court.

He argued that section 182(2) of the Electoral Act is directory and could not constitutionally operate as a time bar to the determination of an appeal properly pending before the ConCourt.

Konjana wants the ConCourt to grant him leave to file a notice of appeal within 10 days.

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