What’s next for CCC after High Court ruling?

The CCC parliamentary candidates for Bulawayo are the 12 whose nomination has been nullified by the High Court.

The Bulawayo High Court has nullified the nomination of all 12 Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) candidates for Bulawayo province. The judge cited late submission of nomination papers.

The CCC candidates denied this and yesterday appealed the ruling. CCC at worst could have won 11 out of the 12 constituencies through the ballot on August 23. For emphasis, the court ruling does not legally affect CCC’s participation in the presidential and local authority elections.

I will not go into the merits of the court submissions, except to say that as a student of politics and as a matter of principle, I believe that representative democracy is best served by the people and not by the courts. I believe that it is justifiable to raise questions of justice beyond technicalities because an election is a matter of public interest.

Well, my intention is to try and clarify what this means for CCC’s candidates on the proportional party lists in Bulawayo province? I am referring to the six on the senate party list, six on the women party list, two on the youth party list (one is just there as a contingency measure) and ten on the metropolitan council party list.

However, the metropolitan list was rejected by Zec for late submission and the matter is still pending in the high court.

Reader, the first thing to understand is that the share or number of seats for all proportional representation is calculated based on the number of votes obtained by the political party’s national assembly candidates (popularly known as the parliamentary candidates) for a particular province.

The CCC parliamentary candidates for Bulawayo are the 12 whose nomination has been nullified by the High Court.

In a more straightforward case, this would mean the CCC’s proportional candidates are automatically out of the election race since there will be no votes obtained by CCC candidates to determine the proportional share.

However, this is not the case and welcome to Zimbabwe’s political jungle.

Reader, remember CCC had double candidates that were duly nominated in three out of the 12 constituencies in Bulawayo.

The double candidates were in Entumbane Njube, Pelandaba-Tshabalala and Pumula constituencies.

The other three “CCC” candidates who were not officially recognised by the CCC leadership remain duly nominated and on the ballot for they were not part of the court case.

This means in the three constituencies mentioned above, CCC is still technically deemed to be contesting against Zanu PF.

The number of votes that the three “CCC” candidates will get in these elections will be used to calculate the share of the proportional seats for the CCC in Bulawayo province.

Whether the CCC continues to reject the three candidates or call them an extension of Zanu PF is inconsequential.

Reader, a matter of fact is that the CCC proportional list in Bulawayo will not automatically fall away unless two things happen.

Either the three “CCC” double candidates OR the CCC proportional candidates choose to withdraw.

Otherwise, if things remain as they are, CCC is still technically deemed to be contesting against Zanu PF for proportional representation in Bulawayo and to be providing a veneer of legitimacy despite being robbed of any chance of electoral success.

Reader, I am just being told now that the CCC is in the process of appealing the judgment to the Supreme Court.

An appeal means the 12 CCC candidates will, for now, remain on the ballot for August 23 until the matter is resolved by the supreme court. However, chances of winning are slim given the politicisation of the Judiciary.

I insist that a fallback political decision still has to be made on how to deal with the proportional party lists in Bulawayo in the context of prevailing jungle politics. Of course, dear reader, the best way is to ask and take lead from the people of Bulawayo.

Dr Phillan Zamchiya is a Zimbabwean political analyst with a PhD from Oxford University.

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