Anxiety grips Zim ahead of presidential poll hearing

HARARE - Anxiety has gripped Zimbabweans as they await the verdict of the Constitutional Court (Con-Court) in which MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa is challenging President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s election victory.

In determining the petition or application, the Con-Court may declare a winner or invalidate the election — in which case a fresh election will have to be held within 60 days after the determination.

With the contestations on elections results, Zimbabweans are now eager to know who their next leader is.

Zimbabweans went on micro-blogging platform, Twitter, to express their anxiety.

“Waiting anxiously for the Con-Court outcome,” wrote @JealousZhuwao.

Zim-SA Diaspora Forum also tweeted that Zimbabweans must plan for their future while waiting for the court outcome.

"Today, as we contemplate on what the outcome of the election court challenge in Zimbabwe will be, we need to start pondering on how we can play an effective role in rebuilding our country. No one else will do it for us.”

Another Zimbabwean @zanomax22 said Zimbabwe is likely to have a runoff.

“There is a similarity between Kenya and Zimbabwe electoral rigging process. Like Kenya, Zim most possible Constitutional Court outcome- is runoff.”

Media lecturer Alexander Rusero said Zimbabwean leaders have perfected the art of keeping people waiting.

“We wait to vote, we wait for election result, we wait for cash, we wait to be treated at hospitals, we wait for court challenge outcome etc,” Rusero tweeted.

Another Zimbabwean Kevin Mutangiri said that all political parties must accept the court outcome.

"Let’s just be fair guys, the outcome of the court must be acceptable, both sides (sic) and move on to the best for our children. Let’s have pity for our children who don’t even know what politics is,” Mutangiri tweeted.

According to constitutional law expert Alex Magaisa, the law governing challenges to the presidential election is provided for under section 93 of the Constitution.

“This provision states that an aggrieved party may, within seven days after the declaration of the election result, challenge the validity of a presidential election at the Con-Court. This is the highest court in the country. Its decision is final, which means it cannot be appealed to any other court of law,” Magaisa wrote on his blog.

“The implication of filing a petition is that the inauguration of a candidate who has been declared the winner by the electoral authority has to stop until the dispute is resolved. There are certain timelines that must be followed. This puts on hold the inauguration of President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa which had been tentatively scheduled for Sunday, August 12.”

Magaisa said the process which allows electoral challenges to be exhausted before inauguration was designed to prevent a phenomenon referred to as a “rush to inauguration.”

“If there had been no petition, the inauguration would have been held on the ninth day after the declaration of the result as provided for section 94(1). That’s why the inauguration had been planned for 12th August 2018.

“Where there is a challenge, the inauguration is held within 48 hours after the Constitutional Court declares the winner.

“If the Constitutional Court makes the decision to declare a winner, inauguration will be held within 48 hours of the decision. Now that a petition to challenge the election has been filed, the inauguration has to wait until the dispute is resolved.”

In terms of section 93(3), the Con-Court is required to hear and determine the matter within a period of 14 days after the petition is lodged.

“Since the petition was filed on August 10, 2018, the Constitutional Court must hear and give its determination on or before August 24, 2018.

“It is within these 14 days that all the procedures pertaining to the hearing must be fulfilled. When a petition is filed, all parties that are cited must be served with the papers,” Magaisa added.


 

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