Fresh blow for CCC

Tshabangu approached the High Court after the recalled legislators were duly nominated by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to represent their party in the by-elections.

RECALLED Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) candidates have lost a High Court challenge to remain on the ballot paper for the February 3 by-elections after the court ruled in favour of the self-imposed interim secretary-general Sengezo Tshabangu.

Tshabangu approached the High Court after the recalled legislators were duly nominated by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to represent their party in the by-elections.He wanted their names to be removed from the ballot papers.

The recalled legislators were being represented by Obey Shava, Alec Muchadehama, Agency Gumbo and Charles Kwaramba, while Tshabangu was represented by Nqobani Sithole and Lewis Uriri.

Before delivering the judgement, High Court judge Justice Pisirayi Kwenda expressed his frustration after the respondents failed to come to court. Justice Kwenda said he wanted them to note the judgement.

“Disappointed that respondents in this matter have decided to abscond when they have been informed that they have to be available for purposes of noting the judgement. It’s being disrespectful. Their default is wilful and contemptuous,” he said.

In his judgement, Kwenda ruled that it was not logical for the recalled members to file their nomination papers under CCC, a party which recalled them.“Tshabangu submitted that acceptance of respondents nomination papers by Zec when they had ceased to be CCC members was unlawful. He sought a declaratur for an order confirming that acceptance by the nomination court of respondents’ nomination papers was not done in accordance with the law and is of no force.

“Consequently, he wanted an order that their names should not appear on the ballot paper,” Kwenda ruled.“He also submitted that the matter was urgent since Zec is already in the process of making ballot papers and by-elections will be held imminently. The respondents opposed the application arguing that the delay by Tshabangu to file his urgent chamber application showed that the matter was not urgent.

“They also submitted that Tshabangu will not suffer any irreparable harm if his members participate in the by-elections.“They said there is nothing to stop candidates from the same political party from contesting in the elections as the issue of double candidates had happened during the harmonised elections. They also said he had not even sponsored candidates in some constituencies.”

Kwenda said the narration given by Tshabangu on why he filed his application late was acceptable.“I don’t see that there was an inordinate delay given the complexity of this matter,” the judge said.

“It is common cause that the applicants needed to seek legal advice before approaching this case. It is also common cause that there are intervening holidays, the Unity Day and Christmas Day.”

Commenting on the issue of identical CCC being cited as applicant and respondent, the judge said “there are clearly now two factions in CCC, but the lawyers just did not bring it out”.

“On the face of it, on documents before me I see factions. Certain people are not happy about the recall. I think this issue should be resolved internally. There are issues the party should resolve and that should not concern me.

“Those differences must be resolved,” Kwenda said.“It is regrettable that in advancing arguments, the respondents lawyers sought to transmit that factionalism in the High Court to say I should depart from the judgement my colleague Justice (Never) Katiyo made.

“Indeed, the respondents were recalled by the first applicant, indeed vacancies were created, by-elections were called for and will be held.“Having observed the above I find that the applicants have proved or made a good case to declare a correct position which is that the respondents having ceased to be members of CCC and not having been reinstated will not contest in the by-elections under CCC. Therefore, consequently it is ordered that the names of the first to the 23 respondents shall not be on ballot papers as members of CCC.”

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