Matiza election victory challenged

HARARE - An independent candidate Noah Mangondo is challenging the Murewa South election results that confirmed Zanu PF’s Joel Biggie Matiza, as winner of the recently-held parliamentary poll.

Mangondo polled 10 653 votes against Matiza, who garnered 10 808 votes.

But in papers filed with the Electoral Court yesterday, Mangondo is seeking an order nullifying the declaration by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) that Matiza won the seat on the grounds that his campaign agents used illegal and intimidatory practices to secure the victory.

Mangondo has retained Gift Mtisi from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) as his lead counsel.

Mangondo, a former Zanu PF official purged for defying orders to stand down for Matiza in primaries, alleges Matiza’s victory was a result of outright corruption.

Matiza, a former Cabinet minister and the current Zanu PF Mashonaland East chairperson, is yet to file opposing papers.

An election petition challenging the election of a member of the National Assembly in a general election must be lodged with the Electoral Court within 14 days after the declaration of the results for the last constituency in the election.

Besides Mangondo, Gift Konjana of the MDC Alliance wants Dexter Nduna of Zanu PF’s win in Chegutu West invalidated.

The MDC Alliance’s Blessed Chebundo is also challenging the victory of  Masango Matambanadzo of the National Patriotic Front (NPF) in Kwekwe Central.

Only an unsuccessful candidate for the parliamentary seat may lodge an election petition according to Electoral Act, section 167. 

Political parties and members of the public cannot do so.

Section 167 of the Electoral Act allows an election petition to complain that the election was not valid “by reason of want of qualification, disqualification, electoral malpractice, irregularity or any other cause whatsoever”.

This is very widely phrased but the circumstances in which the Electoral Court can set aside an election are more limited.

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