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Constitutional Court Dismisses MDC Activist's Appeal to Overturn Zanu PF Lawmaker's Election Victory

Supporters of MDC (Movement for Democratic Change Alliance) leader and opposition presidential candidate cheer outside the MDC headquarters in Harare, on July 31, 2018.

The Constitutional Court has dismissed an appeal by Gift Konjana of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change Alliance, who was seeking an order for the court to declare him the winner of the Chegutu West parliamentary seat instead of Dexter Nduna of the ruling party.

Justices Paddington Garwe, Ben Hlatswayo and Anne Mary Gowora made the ruling today after they reserved judgment on the matter sometime in May this year, following submission by all the parties.

Court documents indicate that the appeal emanated from an election petition lodged with the Electoral Court to nullify the election of Nduna and to declare Konjana duly elected as the Member of Parliament for Chegutu West. The disputed election was held on 30 July, 2018.

The court documents read in part, “After the relevant election forms were collated and compiled, the respondent was declared duly elected by 10,932 votes as opposed to 10,828 votes attributed to the appellant. The appellant asserted that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) officials made mistakes in capturing data from the ward centres. He lodged a complaint with the ZEC District Elections Officer after the discovery of the mistake which was then admitted by ZEC. Before the Electoral Court, the appellant sought the correction of the erroneous declaration …”

In a tweet, Konjana’s attorneys, who are affiliated to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, said, “Konjana is aggrieved by the election result swap which he equates to electoral fraud & blames it on ZEC.”

Some Zimbabweans followed the lawyers’ twitter thread with some of them questioning the court’s decision.

Cliff Shumba said, “What boggles the mind is to hear the likes of Malaba, Mnangagwa and the Mangwanas claiming that the courts are independent. I think their meaning of independence means that ZANU PF and its surrogates are free to manipulate them. No independence comes without fighting for it.”

Ivan Chigwada said, “The law is very clear! By not objecting and appealling against the decision made within the prescribed period, he is deemed to have accepted the initial decision!”

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