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CCC appeals High Court ban of its 12 Bulawayo parliamentary candidates

The opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) has appealed a High Court decision to bar its 12 parliamentary candidates in Bulawayo from contesting in the upcoming harmonised general elections on the basis that they allegedly submitted their nomination papers late.

This comes after Justice Bongani Ndlovu on Thursday controversially barred the 12 candidates after a Zanu-PF member approached the court accusing them of filing their nomination papers after 4pm.

Despite the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)’s position that it accepted CCC nomination papers before the deadline, the High Court went on to bar the aspiring legislators.

The affected MPs are Surrender Kapoikulu (Bulawayo Central), Minenhle Ntandoyenkosi Gumede (Bulawayo North), Nicola Watson (Bulawayo South), Raphael Sibanda (Cowdray Park), Collins Discent Bajila (Emakhandeni/Luveve) and Tshuma Dingilizwe (Entumbane/Njube).

Others are Prince Dube (Entumbane/ Njube), Dereck Gono (Lobengula/ Magwegwe), Desmond Makaza (Mpopoma/ Mzilikazi), Obert Manduna (Nketa), Desire Moyo (Nkulumane), Soneni Moyo (Pelandaba/Tshabalala), Gift Ostallos Siziba (Pelandaba/ Tshabalala), Sichelesile Mahlangu (Pumula) and Albert Mhlanga (Pumula).

In their application to the Supreme Court, on behalf of the affected CCC candidates, lawyers Thabani Mpofu and Welshman Ncube said the High Court judge erred in admitting inadmissible hearsay evidence.

“Having heard argument on points in limine including the critical point on jurisdiction, the court aquo grossly misdirected itself and erred in proceeding to hear argument on the merits of the matter without making a determination on the points taken before it in limine litis,”read part of the application.

“The court a quo erred in assuming jurisdiction over a matter which is by constitutional and statutory command subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Electoral Court and so erred in entertaining, a review disguised as a declaratur.

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“The court a quo erred and misdirected itself in failing to hold that there was no proper application before it, applicants having invented their own dies induciae in violation of the rules and of superior court authority and so erred in condoning a fatal defect and where no application for condonation had been made.

“The court erred in granting relief to parties who had no locus standi in judicio, who could not swear positively to the “facts” they relied upon and who sustained their cause on the basis of objectively established falsehoods.

“The court aquo grossly misdirected itself and seriously erred in admitting inadmissible hearsay evidence on a matter material to the resolution of the applications and in allowing applicants to sustain their case on the basis thereof.

“Having found that the Citizens Coalition for Change political party was adversely affected by the proceedings before it, the court aquo erred in relating to and affording an application which adversely affected its interests without affording the concerned political party the opportunity of being heard.”

On Thursday CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere weighed in on the matter declaring that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime was worse than that of the former president, the late Robert Mugabe who was ousted in a November 2017 military coup.

“Even at his worst, Robert Mugabe never tried to remove opponents whom he feared from the ballot paper.

“Zanu PF’s removal of 12 Bulawayo candidates renders this a full-blown dictatorship and an outpost of tyranny,” Mahere said, adding that the court decision militated against citizens’ right to elect leaders of their choice.

“Accordingly, the thinly-veiled attempt to impose candidates on the citizens of Bulawayo is a dark stain on our democracy and confirms that Zimbabwe is now a full-blown dictatorship, worse than Robert Mugabe.

“Yet even at his worst, Robert Mugabe never tried to brazenly remove opponents he knew he would lose against from the ballot,” Mahere added

The matter is yet to be heard.

Elections will be held on the 23rd of August this year.