Constitutional Court Judgement – Nelson Chamisa’s Presidential Election Legal Challenge

On 22 August, the Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe heard the Presidential Election Legal Challenge filed by Nelson Chamisa and opposed, in particular, by ZEC and Mnangagwa.

In a unanimous decision read 24 August by Chief Justice Malaba, the ConCourt dismissed Chamisa’s case with costs, and declared Emmerson Mnangagwa the winner of Zimbabwe’s 30 July Presidential Election.

In the judgement, Malaba said a full judgement would be issued later, but the main reason for dismissing the application was a lack of evidence to support specific, particular, examples of the allegations put before the court.

Conclusion

In the final analysis, the Court finds that the applicant has failed to place before it clear, sufficient, direct and credible evidence that the irregularities that he alleges marred the election process materially existed. The applicant did not prove the alleged irregularities as a matter of fact. It would be unnecessary in the circumstances to ask and answer the question whether irregularities materially affected the result of the election. As already indicated, it is an internationally accepted principle of election disputes that an election is not set aside easily merely on the basis that an irregularity occurred. There is a presumption of validity of an election. This is so because as long as the election was conducted substantially in terms of the Constitution and all governing laws it would have reflected the will of the people. It is not for the Court to decide elections; it is the people who do so. It is the duty of the courts to strive in the public interest to sustain that which the people have expressed their will in. Therefore, the application ought to be dismissed.

Source: Unanimous decision by the Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe