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High Court Fees May Force MDC-T to Drop 100 Election Petitions

President Robert Mugabe was sworn in Thursday for another five year term following last month's disputed general elections
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai says it may be forced to drop electoral challenges in 100 national assembly constituencies after the registrar of the Electoral Court set $10,000 as the security deposit for each petition.

This means that the MDC-T party will have to raise a million dollars for the cases to be heard. MDC-T’s losing candidates are challenging their defeat in the July 31 elections in the Electoral Court.

Party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora told VOA Studio 7 the fees required as security fees for each case are too high.

Eighty-nine petitions have so far been filed in Harare while six were filed in Bulawayo. According to the country’s Electoral Act, the petitioners have seven days to pay the deposit of $10,000 each.

Mwonzora said the party has complained to the courts about this issue without success.

He said the fees are too high given that in 2008, when Zanu PF candidates filed petitions challenging MDC-T victories, only $200 was required as security deposit per petition.

He suspected that hiking the fees is meant to discourage the MDC from pursuing its election results petitions challenging Zanu PF victory at the July polls.

Mwonzora said given this new development, candidates must consult their lawyers and the head office for direction.

Irimai Mukwishi, who represented MDC-T in Mutare North in the elections, said the fees are outrageous and intended to frustrate their challenge to Zanu PF victories.

He added that given the partisan nature of the Zimbabwean courts, many will be forced to back down.

According to the Electoral Act, all charges and expenses of an election petition shall be paid by the parties to the petition as determined by the Act.