Banned CCC candidates filed paper on time: ZEC


The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has said that the 12 disqualified Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) National Assembly candidates submitted their nomination papers on time.

On Thursday, July 27, 2023, High Court judge, Justice Nokuthula Moyo, delivered the ruling on behalf of Justice Bongani Ndlovu, disqualifying 12 CCC candidates from the 2023 elections. The judge found that the CCC candidates, along with three others from different political parties, had contravened the Electoral Act by submitting their nomination papers through a police officer on June 21, when the Nomination Court sat. Said Justice Ndlovu said:

We now know that a Police Officer collected the nomination papers from the candidates. The Applicants’ case is that the Respondent (CCC candidates) violated the law. I have also been moved by both sides of the bar, to give Section 46 (7) and (8) of the Act the golden rule of interpretation. The Nomination Court closed at 4 pm. Once it closed it was no longer sitting in open court and by the time the respondents sat before him they were not doing so in open Court. The separation of the papers from the Respondents through the medium of the Police Officer was unlawful. The statute says the candidate or his/her agent must be in court and ready to submit at 4 pm. It does not say that the candidate’s papers alone must be in the courtroom.

The 1st Respondent, therefore, violated the provisions of the electoral Act in that regard as he also did close to midnight when he adjourned to 22 June 2022.

ZEC officers who were assessors of the Nomination Court which sat on the 21st of June 2023 at Tredgold Magistrates Court, testified in court that the CCC candidates submitted their nomination papers on time. ZEC official, Pretty Gadzikwa, stated that the nomination officer announced the court was closing at 4 pm on 21 June and instructed the police to collect all nomination papers from aspiring candidates outside the courtroom. In her affidavit, Gadzikwa added that processing of the nomination papers continued until midnight, with the times shown on the submission form indicating when individual forms were completely processed. She said:

  1. On the 21st of June 2023 at 15:55 hrs the Nomination Officer, Mr. I. Ncube announced that the court was about to close at 16:00ho. He went on to instruct the police officer manning the door to collect all Nomination papers from the aspiring candidates who were outside the Courtroom. The Courtroom was very small and could only allow batches of fifteen (15) people at a given time.
  2. After collecting all the Nomination forms outside, the police officer brought them before the Nomination officer’s desk. The nomination officer at 1600hrs announced that the court was now closed for new nomination papers to be submitted.
  3. Processing all nomination papers on the nomination officer’s desk was done up to midnight when results were announced. The times shown on the form written Submission Form were times when Individual forms were completely Processed.

The decision has sparked controversy, with the CCC condemning the ruling as an unconstitutional attack on the will of the people. The CCC’s national spokesperson, Fadzayi Mahere, stated that the party will urgently appeal against the High Court decision and invoke all legal, political and regional measures available under Zimbabwe’s Constitution, as well as the SADC and African Union mechanisms, to ensure that citizens’ right to choose their leaders is respected and safeguarded.

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