UPDATE: Zimbabwe Constitutional Court upholds President Mnangagwa's election victory

Harare, Zimbabwe (PANA) - Zimbabwe's Constitutional Court on Friday upheld President Emmerson Mnangagwa's victory in the 30 July presidential election, state broadcaster Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) announced.

Chief Justice Luke Malaba said the application by Nelson Chamisa, leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance, has been dismissed with costs and Emmerson Mnangagwa "is the duly elected president of the Republic of Zimbabwe".

Mnangagwa won with 50.7% of the votes while Chamisa had 44.3%, according to the revised results.

The decision of the court is final and Mnangagwa is likely to be inaugurated on Sunday.

Malaba said the applicant (Chamisa) failed to provide direct and substantial evidence to allegations of vote rigging, which would be sufficient for the court to invalidate the election.

The Chief Justice, reading the judgement of the nine-member court, said Chamisa asked the court to declare that the presidential election was not conducted in accordance with the law and was not free and fair.

The MDC Alliance candidate also sought that the court should declare the election results and declaration announced by Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is unlawful and he (the applicant) declared the winner.

The Chief Justice said the applicant’s petition was filed on the last day (the 7th day after declaration of full results) as permitted by the law but the papers were served to respondents on the 8th day, which was in breach of the the law.

Chief Justice Malaba says Chamisa therefore breached the court rules on deadlines but due to the national importance of the matter the court decided to grant the application.

He listed the allegations by the applicant and said in this case, the burden of providing evidence lay with the applicant.

The Chief Justice said Chamisa "failed to provide direct and substantial evidence" to allegations of vote rigging, which would be sufficient for the court to invalidate the election.

Chamisa also made "general allegations with no substantial proof of evidence".

The Chief Justice said the best evidence is the ZEC residue, specifically the sealed ballot boxes, which the applicant should have sought to have opened and ballots recounted within 48 hours after declaration of results.

He said the vote of millions of people in an election is what the court is mandated to guard jealously.

The Chief Justice said had the applicant placed all the V11 forms from all polling stations before the court, they would have been easily compared to residue in sealed ballot boxes and that would have addressed the allegations of over voting, the differences in presidential and parliamentary tallies, the allegation of a last minute upsurge in votes in some provinces and the probability of some polling stations having similar results.

He said ZEC made a critical admission that the results initially announced were wrong and as such there were some minor corrections to the clerical errors. ZEC also said the correction had no effect on the declaration of the winner.

The CJ said it is the court’s view that "the applicant needed more evidence" than just the mere admission by ZEC.

He added that the unpopulated V11 forms presented by the applicant were fake and were meant to mislead the court.

Supporters of Chamisa staged a violent demonstration in Harare after Chamisa and leading members of the MDC claimed they had won the election but had been cheated.

Police said six people died when the MDC supporters protested in the city burning lorry tyres, setting up barriers, destroying property, torching vehicles, looting and robbing vendors and pedestrians.

Mnangagwa became the president last November after a popular uprising involving war veterans, politicians, the general public and supported by soldiers ousted the long-serving leader, Robert Mugabe, who had been at the head since 1980.
-0- PANA MA 24Aug2018

24 august 2018 15:17:24

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