By Shamiso Dzingire
Parliament has given newly-elected Chegutu West Member of Parliament Dexter Nduna the green light to continue his duties as legislator notwithstanding a court challenge to his electoral victory.
This was after opposition MDC legislators had sought to have him barred from making contributions in the National Assembly, saying the Electoral Court is still to rule on an electoral challenge by his rival, Gift Konjana.
On Wednesday, MDC MPs heckled Nduna after the Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda gave him the floor during a question without notice session.
His question was drowned as MDC MPs shouted on top of their voices while also hurling insults at Nduna.
“He has no right to say anything here, he lost elections, he is not an MP and he is a thief,” shouted one MDC lawmaker.
This led Nduna to seek the Speaker’s protection, which Mudenda duly accorded him by ruling that until the courts rule otherwise, he should enjoy his full rights as an MP.
“The case of … Nduna and a few others, their matters are in court and the due process of court has not been completed to pronounce otherwise. So, in this case he can ask a question and be here in Parliament,” Mudenda ruled.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) had initially declared Nduna as the winner with 10 932 votes, followed by Konjana with 10 828 votes, before the latter challenged the result, claiming the electoral body mixed up the figures.
While Zec reportedly admitted to have made an error, the electoral management body advised Konjana that the results could only be overturned by the Electoral Court.
This prompted Konjana to file a petition with the Electoral Court, seeking the nullification of Nduna’s declaration.
Konjana claimed that a tabulation error occurred and prejudiced him of 120 votes that had been erroneously awarded to one Simon Kache of UCADPGPZ.
The Electoral Court has since deferred its ruling on the matter to next week.
In his heads of argument, Nduna maintains that the Electoral Court does not have the jurisdictional ability to nullify a declaration made by the electoral body and thereafter pronounce an alternative winner.
He also claims that Zec and Konjana worked hand in glove to forge signatures of polling agents as they played around with figures allegedly to ensure Konjana is declared the winner.
Besides the jurisdictional ability of the Electoral Court, Nduna further said Konjana’s petition was afflicted with a myriad of procedural irregularities and therefore urged the court to dismiss it.
“There is no kind way of putting it; the present petition is afflicted by a myriad of procedural infirmities that render the said petition still-born. As better explained herein below, the non-compliance with the rules and the strict dicta of statute is fatal to the proceedings and should actuate the dismissal of the petition,” he said.
“Put plainly, this matter must turn on a question of law rather than the facts, which if carefully considered, would still not substantiate the petitioner’s prayer. In case the petitioner does not, on the face of the petition, particularise the exact relief he craves in accordance with Rule 21 (g) of the Applications, Appeals and Petition Rules 1995 SI74A of 1995.
“The present petition is strange, on the face of the said petition; the petitioner seeks to impugn a declaration made by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission on July 31 of an unspecified year.
“In the draft order the petitioner then seeks to impugn a declaration made by a constituency election officer, who is not named. In fact, the draft order doesn’t even state the date when the declaration was made . . . the present petition does violence to this rule by describing an incomplete prayer on the face of the petition and then alluding to differently wondered relief in the draft order.” DailyNews