Back to Index
Political violence not enough to nullify Zanu PF victory: judge
BULAWAYO – Zimbabwe’s
Electoral Court on Monday conceded that the ruling ZANU PF party
used violence and politicised food aid to win votes but still upheld
the party’s election victory in Insiza constituency saying although
evidence before it was credible it did not warrant nullification
of the result.
Insiza, in Matabeleland
South, is one of about 12 constituencies whose results in last March’s
parliamentary election are being challenged by the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) party in what the party says is an exercise
meant to demonstrate how President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF
party stole the vote.
ZANU PF’s Andrew
Langa won in the constituency against the MDC’s Siyabonga Malandu-Ncube.
petitioned the court to nullify the poll result saying ZANU PF had
used violence to secure victory for its candidate. On three occasions,
Langa had shot at MDC supporters in a bid to intimidate them, Malandu-Ncube
told the court.
In a bid to
ensure maximum votes for its candidate, ZANU PF had threatened to
withdraw food aid to villagers who did not support its candidate,
according to Malandu-Ncube.
Ndou, who heard the petition, said there was "overwhelming
credibility" in most of the evidence submitted by Malandu-Ncube.
The judge also
said "it appears to be true" that food was not distributed
fairly in Insiza constituency. But he ruled that notwithstanding
the credibility of the evidence, the court was dismissing the petition
because the politicisation of food aid did not appear to have had
a bearing on the result.
Ndou said Langa
appeared to have a propensity for violence as alleged by Malandu-Ncube
but the judge said the MDC candidate had heavily relied on evidence
of violence committed in 2002 and therefore the court could not
nullify the result of the election on that basis.
The judge ruled:
"Although it appears to be true that food was not distributed
fairly, that cannot individually warrant the nullification of the
outcome because it does not appear to have had a bearing on the
result … evidence led also show that the respondent (Langa) has
a propensity for violence, but what is clear is that most of the
petitioner’s evidence is based on the 2002 election."
The court also
dismissed another separate election petition by the MDC’s Jacob
Thabane who was seeking the nullification of the election victory
of ZANU PF’s Obert Mpofu in Bubi-Umguza constituency.
The judge said
Thabane had failed to substantiate his allegations against Mpofu.
of the two election petitions brings to three the number of cases
dismissed by the electoral court after the controversial March election
won by ZANU PF.
Last week, the
ZEC dismissed an election petition by the MDC’s Renson Gasela who
was challenging ZANU PF’s election victory in Gweru Rural constituency.
ZANU PF won
78 out of the 120 contested seats in the general poll with the MDC
garnering a paltry 41 seats. The other seat was won by former government
information minister Jonathan Moyo.
But the opposition
has refused to accept the March election results accusing ZANU PF
of using violence and outright fraud to secure victory. ZANU PF
denies the charges.
The MDC says
the electoral court, which was set up earlier this year to resolve
electoral disputes, lacks sufficient clout to make independent decisions.
The judges are appointed to the court by Mugabe.
the veteran President, who three years ago forced several independent
judges off the bench, has packed Zimbabwe’s courts with loyalist
judges. - ZimOnline
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.