Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court announced on Thursday that it set a date when it will start hearing arguments in an application by opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa to challenge presidential elections results announced by Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
The court said the application would start on August 22.
The setting of the hearing date is despite frenetic efforts by the ruling Zanu-PF party to have the election challenge thrown out on a technicality. The party said that the papers were not served at the address President-elect, Emmerson Mnangagwa, provided to the ZEC for purposes of the election.
Chamisa spokesman Nkululeko Sibanda announced the date saying, “Case to be heard at 10 am on the 22nd of August 2018.”
It is not yet clear if the hearing will be done in live camera.
Chamisa has alleged that the results were manipulated by ZEC to ensure that Mnangagwa wins. ZEC declared that Mnangagwa won the election with 50.8 percent of the vote while Chamisa was said to have come second with 44.3 percent of the vote.
Mnangagwa, in his founding affidavit submitted to the ConCourt courtesy of his 12-member legal team, trashed Chamisa’s application, saying it was not bona fide, but was a tactic meant to delay his inauguration as the duly-elected president and to also find an opportunity to make a political statement in court.
Mnangagwa also dismissed Chamisa’s claims that he had won the July 30 presidential elections, adding Chamisa himself had conceded defeat in his papers before the same court.
“… The applicant has not mounted this application for the bona fide purpose of setting aside the results of the presidential election conducted on July 30, 2018. Instead, the intention was to delay my inauguration as the duly-elected President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and to make political statements in court,” the papers read.
“This is apparent from the fact that the application does not comply with the rules of the honourable court and the Constitution. The honourable court must see through this stratagem and dismiss the application. In addition, the applicant must be censured for the grossly childish manner in which he prosecuted this application.”
Mnangagwa said Chamisa made unsubstantiated claims that he suffered overall prejudice of 345,784 votes due to “polling station specific cases of voter intimidation, voter coercion and/or otherwise potential manipulation”.
The Zanu-PF leader said there was nothing in Chamisa’s source documents to support any allegations of voter intimidation.
“In fact, the ‘expert’ in his own report first states that there was an overall prejudice of the applicant of 305,784 votes (which is denied) and then without explanation changes that number some few paragraphs later to 345,784 votes,” he said.
Mnangagwa further claimed Chamisa’s intention was to create doubt in the minds of people as regards the integrity of the process and, in so doing, “undermine the presumption of a due return contemplated by section 93 of the Constitution, without discharging the requisite onus and, invite condemnation of the court for resolving matters on the technical objections he had deliberately invited”.
ZEC has also filed its opposing documents, arguing that Chamisa filed his papers late and has therefore missed the deadline for filing.