Former Zimbabwe Vice President, Joice Mujuru, now the presidential candidate of the People’s Rainbow Coalition, has called on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to disqualify both President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Nelson Chamisa of the main opposition MDC Alliance for allegedly breaching the constitution and campaigning 24 hours before election day.
Mujuru told VOA Studio 7 that nobody is above the law and that the two candidates must face the full wrath of the law. “Both of them are lawyers and they know better. They are supposed to be removed from the race.”
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson, Justice Priscilla Chigumba, told journalists in Harare on Monday that the two candidates might have violated the law.
“On July 29, at least two candidates gave statements which were published in the media and might be interpreted as campaigning ... The matters have been referred to the police for investigation for possible violation of the law,” she said.
Chamisa and his legal advisor, Thabani Moyo, held a press conference in Harare reportedly declaring that the MDC Alliance candidate will win and if Chamisa does not win it will be because the election was rigged.
But the ZEC has come under fire for referring to Mr. Chamisa by name and refusing to do so with Mr. Mnangagwa
ZEC Acting Chief Elections Officer, Mr Utoile Silaigwana, told the state-controlled broadcaster ZBC that the commission had reported Chamisa to the police.
Silaigwana said, “The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has noted with concern the violation of the Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13] by one of the candidates contesting in the 2018 Harmonized Elections. Clause 7 (1)(b) of the Code of Conduct for political parties and candidates and other stakeholders provides as follows: (1) No political party or candidate may, from midnight 24 hours before polling day in any election or referendum until polling stations are closed on that day publish, or cause or permit the publication, of any advertisement or statement promoting or opposing a particular party or candidate.
Silaigwana added that “it has come to the knowledge of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission that one of the presidential candidates today, the 29th of July 2018 held a press conference at Meikles Hotel, in direct contravention of the provisions of the Electoral Act Fourth Schedule (Section 160A, Clause 7(1)(B). This matter has been reported to the police for investigation on possible infraction of the electoral law,”
But responding in a press statement, Mpofu said his client has not breached the law as alleged by ZEC saying, “no offense, known at law was committed.”
He said, “The fact that ZEC has reported a non-offence at this crucial time is meant to intimidate the president (Chamisa) and his team, is an unacceptable demonstration of partiality and will not be viewed lightly.”
But late Sunday, Mr. Mnangagwa also posted on his Facebook page a rebuttal to former President Robert Mugabe who had vowed not to vote for him.
In the video, Mr. Mnangagwa urged people to vote for him and his ruling party.
“Now that it is clear to all that Advocate Chamisa has forged a deal with Mugabe, we can no longer believe that his intentions are to transform Zimbabwe and rebuild our nation. The choice is clear you either vote for Mugabe under the guise of Chamisa or vote for a new Zimbabwe under my leadership and Zanu-PF. Real change is coming. We should all be part of it. God bless Zimbabwe.”
Zanu-PF deputy legal secretary and former deputy justice minister Fortune Chasi told VOA that, “Mr. Mnangagwa announced on Saturday that he had finished his campaign when he addressed a rally at the National Sports Stadium in Harare.”
Chasi said “the video was just a rejoinder to the press conference by Advocate Chamisa and former President Mugabe. It did not amount to a campaign.”