Zim court hears record urgent court applications as opposition candidates protest against intimidation and ZEC conduct

THE Electoral Court will on Tuesday 24 July 2018 preside over the hearing and determination of three urgent chamber applications filed by aspiring opposition legislators seeking to interdict some ZANU PF party supporters from intimidating opposition party supporters and disrupting their campaign rallies ahead of the forthcoming harmonised elections.

Justice Owen Tagu will at 2:15 PM first hear an urgent chamber application filed by Noah Mangondo, an aspiring legislator for Murehwa South constituency in Mashonaland East province and three of his supporters namely Tawanda Mujuru, Ambrose Marumisa and Reginald Mukarakate seeking to compel his rival Joel Matiza to take effective measures to prevent his campaign agents and supporters from engaging in any activity that causes intimidation and threats to Mangondo and any of his supporters.

In his urgent chamber application, Mangondo, who is represented by Tinomuda Shoko and Tonderai Bhatasara of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) argued that Matiza’s supporters in Murehwa South Constituency were intimidating and threatening his supporters in a bid to prevent them from making their political choices freely in conditions of tolerance as espoused by the Constitution.

Mangondo also argued that his supporters were being denied access to receive some presidential agricultural inputs because of their support to the independent aspiring candidate although they have a right to receive the inputs without the threat of bodily harm or threat of deprivation on the basis of political party affiliation.

At 2:30 PM, Justice Esther Muremba will preside over the hearing of another urgent chamber application filed by Emmanuel Five, a registered voter resident in Ward 29 of Murehwa Rural District in Mashonaland East province seeking the disqualification of an aspiring independent councillor from contesting in the local authority elections.

In his urgent chamber application, Five argued that Josephat Kamwendo, who was recently nominated to contest as independent councillor for Ward 29 in the harmonised elections scheduled for Monday 30 July 2018, is disqualified from contesting the elections as a councillor as his nomination cannot stand at law.

The Murehwa resident, who is represented by Lizwe Jamela and Noble Chinhanu of ZLHR, charged that Kamwendo was discharged from office by Saviour Kasukuwere, the former Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing after it was discovered that he illegally sold a piece of land to some unsuspecting home seekers in Macheke Township in Mashonaland East province.

Five, who cited Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Hon. Ziyambi Ziyambi and Kamwendo as respondents, also argued that Kamwendo was convicted of committing fraud in June 2017 by a Marondera Magistrate after he attempted to sell a stand in Murehwa of which he had no rights in the land and had no title deeds to the land he purported to sell.

Five charged that the possibility of Kamwendo contesting for public office is an affront on Zimbabwe’s electoral law and the political rights of voters in Ward 29 in Murehwa Rural District as entrenched in the Constitution.

Five argued that section 119(2)(e) and (h)(i) of the Electoral Act clearly stipulates that a person shall be disqualified from being nominated as a candidate for or from election as a councillor if he has been convicted of an offence involving dishonesty.

Lastly, Justice Amy Tsanga will hear an urgent chamber application filed by Nkosinathi Nyamadzawo, an opposition political party aspiring legislator for Zvimba South constituency in Mashonaland West province seeking an order to stop some ruling ZANU PF party supporters from preventing, disrupting, threatening and intimidating him and his MDC Alliance supporters from conducting their rallies, meetings or campaigns in preparation for the forthcoming 2018 harmonised elections.

In his application, Nyamadzawo, who will contest against Phillip Chiyangwa of the ruling ZANU PF party argued that Chiyangwa’s supporters had committed several electoral offences against the opposition party candidate in the Zvimba South constituency, which had deterred potential supporters from attending his political party rallies.

Nyamadzawo, who is represented by Roselyn Hanzi and Jeremiah Bamu of ZLHR, also wants the Electoral Court to order Chiyangwa to take effective measures to prevent his campaign agents and supporters from engaging in any conduct that may cause disruptions of rallies, meetings or any gatherings convened by Nyamadzawo.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

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