Court throws out Biti's presidential ballot challenge

HARARE - The High Court has thrown out a bid by Tendai Biti’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to force the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to change the ballot papers that will be used in the presidential elections on Monday.

High Court judge David Mangota on Thursday dismissed the application on the basis that it was devoid of merit.

In the application, PDP demanded an order declaring that the ballot paper that was designed was inconsistent with the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the Electoral Act and the principal electoral regulations.

The presidential ballot paper was artfully designed by Zec to ensure President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s visage heads one of the two columns of 23 presidential candidates.

PDP wanted an order directing Zec to design the presidential ballot in a manner prescribed by law, where the names are listed in alphabetical order.

PDP also wanted an order to stop the elections management body from using postal services to transport postal ballot papers for the presidential election.

However, Mangota dismissed the application with costs, ruling that Zec acted within the confines of the law.

“The applicant failed to establish a prima facie  (sufficient evidence by a civil claimant to support the legal claim) case. It hinged its argument on the form as opposed to the substance of the ballot paper. Its case stands on nothing. It is completely devoid of merit. It is, in the premise, dismissed with costs,” Mangota ruled.

“The November 2017 development which ushered in the new administration in Zimbabwe is unique in a number of respects. It is unique in the sense that, for the first time in the history of independent Zimbabwe, 124 political parties were formed between the dawn of the new dispensation and this moment.

“The political space with which the new administration opened is unprecedented,” Mangota said.

In its application, PDP claimed Zec had not given contesting political parties and presidential candidates access to the ballot paper to allow them to participate effectively in the electoral process in contravention of Section 155 (2) (c) of the Constitution and had also proceeded to conduct postal voting for the election of a President without presidential candidates having access to the ballot paper.

The party further argued that Zec made, designed, produced and printed a presidential ballot paper that is not in the prescribed form as provided in section 57 of the Electoral Act and its regulations.

The opposition political party charged that Zec and its chairperson Priscillah Chigumba’s conduct is in breach of section 156 and 68 of the Constitution.

Comments (1)

Biti is always right

Chikowore - 29 July 2018

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.