By Tatenda Mabasa | Nehanda Mutare Bureau |
MUTARE – Only 10 losing MDC-T National Assembly candidates in Manicaland managed to pay the required $10 000 security deposit for costs for each of their election petitions in which they are challenging the victory by Zanu PF candidates in the just ended July 31 polls in Zimbabwe.
The MDC-T lost 22 of the contested 26 seats to Zanu PF in an election they say was marred by massive vote rigging and manipulation of the voters’ roll.
By challenging results of only 10 constituencies, it means the MDC-T was forced to abandon the remainder of 12 petitioners.
MDC-T Manicaland spokesperson Mr Pishai Muchauraya on Wednesday confirmed the developments, adding that his party was forced to abandon some petitions after failing to raise the required amount.
The failure by the candidates to pay the money at the expiry of the seven-day period, last Friday, resulted in the automatic lapse of the contestations. Mr Muchauraya, who lost to Zanu PF’s Cde Mandi Chimene in Makoni South, is challenging the results.
Mr Muchauraya said the MDC-T was also challenging Zanu PF electoral victories in Buhera South, Makoni Central, Chipinge South, Nyanga North, Mutasa North, Headlands, Mutare North, Chipinge West, Buhera North and Makoni North.
“We had filled petitions challenging the results in 22 constituencies, but some of the candidates failed to raise the required amount of $10 000. The petitions were in tandem with our resolution as a party that the election was stolen, and we resolved to pursue the legal route,” said Mr Muchauraya.
Mr Muchauraya said the petitions were filed on the eve of the expiry of the 14-day period in which challenges should be filed at the Electoral Court.
The $10 000 deposit, which Mr Muchauraya claimed was “too much and inhibitive” has been paid in terms of section 168 of the Electoral Act which requires that a petitioner pays a security fee fixed by the Registrar of the High Court.
“Not later than seven days after the presentation of the election petition, security of an amount fixed by the registrar of the Electoral Court, being not less than the amount prescribed by the Commission after consultation with the Chief Justice, for the payment of all costs, charges and expenses that may become payable by the petitioner – (a) to pay any person summoned as a witness on his behalf or her behalf and (b) to the respondent shall be given by or on behalf of the petitioner,” reads the Act.
The fee will be used to cover expenses of those who will be summoned to court.