ZANU PF is pressing ahead with its fight to regain control of the House of Assembly by appealing to the Supreme Court against the Electoral Courtâ€™s dismissal of election petitions filed by the partyâ€™s losing candidates in the March 29 parliamentary elections.
The ruling partyâ€™s losing candidates, Tendai Savanhu (Mbare East), Omega Sipani-Hungwe (Dzivaresekwa), and Tsitsi Muzenda (Gweru-Chirumanzu), who lost to Piniel Denga, Evelyn Masaiti and Patrick Kombayi of the MDC-Tsvangirai, have approached the Supreme Court to set aside the Electoral Courtâ€™s ruling.
Zanu PF lost its House of Assembly majority to both factions of the MDC when it won 99 seats against the oppositionâ€™s 110.
In their notices of appeal to the Supreme Court this week, Savanhu, Sipani-Hungwe and Muzenda said the Electoral Court erred by ruling that their petitions were filed out of time and served at wrong addresses of respondents.
“The learned judge erred in ruling that the petitioner had a legal duty to serve the petition within 10 days of its presentation notwithstanding the proven fact that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission did not timeously prescribe the amount of security that appellant was obliged to give prior to service of the petition,” read Sipani-Hungweâ€™s notice.
She also argued that the Electoral Court erred in adjudging that service of the petition at the respondentâ€™s political party headquarters did not constitute substantial compliance with Section 169 of the Electoral Act. Notices from Savanhu and Muzenda also have the same grounds of appeal as those of Sipani-Hungwe.
If the Supreme Court grants the Zanu PF membersâ€™ appeal, their petitions will proceed to trial in the Electoral Court.
Meanwhile, the MDC has accused the government of trying to shrink its majority in the House of Assembly by using trumped up charges against its MPs elect.
The MDCâ€™s director of information, Luke Tamborinyoka, told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that the government was using political games to thwart their partyâ€™s chance of electing a member of the opposition as Speaker of Parliament.
He alleged: “Zanu PF is talking about dialogue yet they are acting war. How can the police put up notices telling the public to be wary of Sherperd Mushonga (Mazowe Central MP-elect) when he is the same person his constituency voted for.”
In a list released by the MDC this week, Misheck Shoko, the MP-elect for Chitungwiza South, was reportedly in remand prison in Mberengwa, after he was arrested campaigning during the countdown to the presidential election run-off.
Shua Mudiwa, the MP-elect for Mutare West, was in remand prison on charges of kidnapping a 13-year old girl and Amos Chibaya, the MP-elect for Mkoba constituency in Gweru, has a pending court case in which he is accused of inciting police officers to revolt against the government.
The MDC said seven of its winning candidates in the March 29 parliamentary elections are in hiding as they were on the police wanted list for political violence-related crimes.
Among them are Denga, Mushonga, Pearson Mungofa (Highfield East), Tabitha Khumalo (Bulawayo East), Edmore Marima (Bikita East), and Broadwin Nyaude (Bindura South). Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena yesterday denied that police were targeting MDC members for political violence crimes.
He said: “It is very malicious of them to be accusing us of trumping up charges against their MPs-elect. Our job is to investigate what happened on the ground without or and favour.”
By Lucia Makamure