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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Judge defers ruling on Tsvangirai’s election records request
    Nomalanga Moyo, SW Radio Africa

    August 15, 2013

    View this article on the SW Radio Africa website

    Judgement has been reserved indefinitely in the matter in which MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai wanted access to material used in the July 31st disputed poll.

    The matter, which was filed last Thursday, was heard in chambers Wednesday afternoon by High Court Judge Chinembiri Bhunu.

    In the application Tsvangirai’s lawyers wanted the court to order the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to let him inspect poll records for vote rigging evidence.

    Tsvangirai lost the presidential vote to Zanu-PF’s Robert Mugabe, in a process widely criticised for its irregularities by independent observers and civic groups.

    The MDC-T leader had wanted to inspect the voters’ roll, ballots, voter registration slips, as well as the presidential election results for each constituency.

    Last week Friday, Tsvangirai filed another case at the Constitutional Court challenging the outcome of the electoral process which he wants nullified.

    He argues that the July 31st process was fraught with irregularities, and is convinced that the election records, which ZEC is refusing to release, contain the evidence he needs to prove to the Con Court that Mugabe rigged his way to victory.

    Access to this material would enable him to “demonstrate beyond doubt that the election was improperly conducted, and that the will of the people was not reflected in this election,” his lawyers said Wednesday.

    Speaking to SW Radio Africa, Tsvangirai’s lawyer Advocate Lewis Uriri said: “In our Con Court petition we make allegations, that the election did not reflect the will of the people of Zimbabwe, and that the election material was tampered with.

    “So we went to [the High] Court to ask for that election material which we intend to use in the Con Court petition,” Uriri said.

    Reacting to Bhunu’s decision to reserve judgement, Uriri said his team can only hope that a ruling will be made soon - as the poll records have relevance to Tsvangirai’s Con Court petition.

    It remains to be seen whether Bhunu would have reached a decision regarding the poll records by weekend. Bhunu postponed hearing the petitions twice Wednesday, with reports that he was unhappy with suggestions, allegedly from the MDC-T, that he is biased towards Zanu-PF - and therefore wanted to be excused.

    However, Bhunu’s protestations and attempts at recusing himself sit suspiciously well with Mugabe’s efforts to have Tsvangirai’s petitions dismissed. Mugabe’s lawyers argue that the High Court has no jurisdiction to hear such electoral petitions.

    Bhunu is also the same judge presiding over the matter in which 29 MDC-T activists are charged with the murder of a Glen View police inspector. The case has dragged on for two years.

    Lawyers for the accused said Bhunu had indicated that he would have reached a decision on the activists’ application for discharge by July 3rd. But until now there has been no word or ruling from the judge. One of the accused, Rebecca Mafukeni who was held in solitary confinement, died on Monday, while awaiting justice.

    The Con Court will hear Tsvangirai’s petition challenging Mugabe’s win on Saturday, with Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku presiding.

    In another related petition for election material filed by the outgoing MDC-T legislator for Mt Pleasant, Jameson Timba, judgement was also reserved indefinitely by High Court Judge Joseph Mafusirelate Thursday afternoon.

    Timba had wanted to review voting records for the Mt Pleasant Constituency which was marred by serious anomalies. Timba told this station that he plans to lodge another challenge at the ConCourt on August 19th.

    Like Tsvangirai, Timba also wants the result of the poll, described by the MDC-T as “the biggest fraud this country has ever seen” to be declared null and void.

    Mugabe was declared the winner of the July 31st presidential vote with 61% against Tsvangirai’s 34%. His Zanu-PF party also grabbed a two-thirds parliamentary majority.

    SW Radio Africa is Zimbabwe's Independent Voice and broadcasts on Short Wave 4880 KHz in the 60m band.

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