Chief Ndiweni challenges Charumbira re-election

BULAWAYO - Ntabazinduna Chief Felix Nhlanhlayemangwe Ndiweni has dragged Chief’s Council president Fortune Charumbira and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to court seeking nullification of provincial assembly and national chiefs council elections arguing the whole process was marred by irregularities.

The elections, which were held between July 11 and 18, saw the re-election of Charumbira as Chief’s Council president and Chief Mtshane as his deputy.

In a bid to invalidate the election; Ndiweni immediately filed an urgent application at the High Court, whose ruling is still pending.

In a follow up move, Ndiweni — through his lawyer Dumisani Dube of Mathonsi Ncube Attorneys — yesterday indicated that they were finalising an ordinary High Court application.

Dube confirmed the new developments yesterday.

In the court papers prepared by Dube, Charumbira is cited as the first respondent while Mtshana and Zec have been cited as second and third respondents respectively.

“The plaintiff is asking the High Court to order Zec to nullify its voting process that was conducted on July 11, 2018 at the Chief Khayisa Ndiweni’s training Centre Hall, Ntabazinduna for Matabeleland North Chiefs Provincial Assembly, to elect four chiefs to constitute the provincial Chief’s Council. They in turn would represent the chiefs of Matabeleland North at the National Chiefs Council,” Ndiweni noted.

“This was to elect the president and vice president of the National Chief’s Council. The Matabeleland North Provincial Chiefs Council were not duly elected and constituted in accordance with the principles of a proper electoral process.”

Ndiweni said the whole process was flawed in the sense that an informal way which involved intimidation was used in the voting process. The outspoken chief also accused Zec of not properly handling the election process.

“Chiefs have an informal hierarchal understanding among themselves based upon the age of the chief and the number of years the incumbent has been a chief and the length of time the chief has held a particular office.

“Hence, chiefs would not to be seen challenging this informal hierarchal understanding by voting for change among the chiefs leadership. Yet the democratic process underpinning the work of Zec is implicitly designed to enable such conservative individuals like chiefs, to vote anonymously, freely, transparently and comfortably,” he said.

Ndiweni added: “As a result the anonymity of the chiefs vote for this electoral college is absolutely vital because of this unofficial, informal, hierarchal understanding among the chiefs. An understanding that pulls against change and indeed pulls against the very principles of democracy alluded to earlier.”

Further to that, Ndiweni said the process was flawed in the sense that chiefs were asked to choose their intended candidates by show of hands instead of the legal secret ballot.

As an example, Ndiweni said in Matabeleland North for the first position, chiefs wrote down the name of their preferred candidate on a piece of paper before Zec officials read, out the name and asked for the Chief who had proposed the name to raise their hand and state their name.

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