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MDC candidate breaks ranks

Ray Matikinye

DOUGLAS Mwonzora, the losing MDC candidate for Nyanga in the March election, has broken rank with other opposition candidates who have since withdrawn their court petitions and is pressing ahea

d with his challenge of the March poll result in the Electoral Court.

The MDC initially filed petitions to contest the poll outcome in 13 constituencies, although it said electoral fraud was rampant in 30 of the 120 constituencies. After the election MDC secretary for legal affairs David Coltart said his party had lost faith in the judiciary but was challenging the outcome just to expose poll fraud.

The opposition party’s legal department withdrew court petitions by Heather Bennett (Chimanimani), Elphas Mukonoweshuro (Gutu South), Ian Kay (Marondera East), Aaron Chinhara (Gokwe) and Hilda Mafudze (Manyame) and had sought to withdraw the petition by Mwonzora.

On Wednesday he re-applied for the case to be heard. Mwonzora had lined up 70 witnesses against the respondent’s 25 when the court told him his party had withdrawn the petition.

“I am changing lawyers,” said Mwonzora. “The MDC had wanted to withdraw my petition like it did with the others but I see no merit in letting Zanu PF off the hook. It is a case that I can win with the irrefutable evidence available,” he said on Wednesday.

Mwonzora, the vice-chairperson of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), a key ally of the MDC, lost the March poll to Paul Kadzima of Zanu PF by 2 887 votes.

He is contesting the figures given “unequivocally” by the chief elections officer to the nation for his constituency by the end of the day which showed significant variation with those finally declared.

His petition reads: “The election in Nyanga was characterised by intimidation, undue influence, corrupt and illegal practices by the district administrator for Nyanga and Chief Saunyama acting in concert or by the elections agents of the respondent acting on direct orders or with the concurrence of the respondent.”

In his petition, Mwonzora cites more than 30 instances when the local chiefs or Zanu PF functionaries either openly intimidated the electorate or threatened that they would forgo food assistance if they voted for the MDC.

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