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Chimanimani poll suspended
The Herald (Zimbabwe)
March 16, 2005

THE newly-established Electoral Court yesterday nullified results of the nomination court for Chimanimani and ordered the nomination of candidates for the constituency to be redone.

This followed an appeal by jailed Chimanimani Member of Parliament Roy Bennett, who was contesting the decision by the court to reject his papers.

According to the ruling by Electoral Court judge, Justice Tendai Uchena, the constituency registrar for Chimanimani should convene another nomination court to consider papers of candidates interested in contesting in the constituency on April 4, while polling would take place on April 30.

In his judgment, Justice Uchena noted that Bennett was convicted and sentenced by Parliament and the nomination court had no jurisdiction to reject his nomination papers.

Bennett’s lawyer, Mrs Beatrice Mtetwa of Kantor and Immerman, confirmed the ruling and said the judge had determined that there was nothing wrong with her client’s nomination papers.

She said the judge had also ruled that her client’s papers were in order and complied with Schedule Three of the Constitution, which deals with requirements for one to be eligible to stand in a parliamentary election.

Bennett lodged his appeal with the Electoral Court early this month after last month’s rejection of his papers by the nomination court.

In his application, Bennett had listed Ms Joyce Munamati, who is the constituency election officer, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), Zanu-PF candidate for the constituency Dr Samuel Undenge and his wife, Heather Bennett, as respondents.

The jailed legislator argued that his disqualification was improper according to the laid-down election rules. Bennett was jailed for an effective one year for contempt of Parliament after he assaulted the Leader of the House and Justice Minister, Cde Patrick Chinamasa.

In his response, Mr George Chikumbirike of Chikumbirike and Associates, who appeared for the constituency election officer and the ZEC, had opposed the application.

Mr Chikumbirike argued that the relief sought by Bennett was incompetent, saying it was premised on a misunderstanding of the relevant provisions of the law governing the conduct of elections.

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