MDC, lawyers to challenge Zim presidential poll results
Africa / 5 August 2018, 12:01pm / Peta Thornycroft
Zimbabwe election experts and several lawyers both here, and in South Africa, have their calculators out and are working around the clock preparing documentation to take to the country’s constitutional court by Friday to challenge the results of the presidential poll.
MDC Alliance insiders say there is a “huge push” to prepare information from the election itself, and to finalise legal argument to make the challenge possible.
And it seems the lawyers are working for free to help collate documentation and thrash out arguments within the complex Electoral Act to challenge the result which gave Emmerson Mnangagwa an extremely narrow victory of 50.8% with 2,46 million votes.
If he had got less then 50% plus one vote,the country would have had to automatically hold a second round of the presidential poll.
Chamisa scored 2,15 million votes or 44,3% of the vote. There were 21 other presidential candidates whose small scores made up 6,4% of the vote.
MDC secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora said on Friday the party was examining documents from the election and data from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission: “I believe we are making progress with the documentation and I expect we will be in court next week.”
Since he spoke other information has emerged from a couple of key investigators among those working through the night as the documentation to be analysed is enormous.
There were nearly 11 000 polling stations and each one produced public documentation after the count of the results, number of votes cast, spoiled ballots etc,and the number of registered voters.
For the first time Zimbabwe’s political parties have an electronic version of the voters’ roll and there may be argument, alongside the statistical data post the elections, that the law was broken when the the Nomination Court took place in June, without the voters roll as it had not yet been produced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
So some election experts said, at the time, that the first step of for the elections - the nomination court was illegal.
There was also a second version of the roll released days before voting day on July 30, which allegedly had about 11 000 more registered voters then the one given to political parties after the first version appeared days after nomination court proceedings.
One senior electoral observer who asked not to be identified said on Sunday: “Since the results of the presidential poll were released we are examine some anomalies, and some other data of voter turnout, some of which has surprised us.”
There were other alleged breaches of the electoral law, including abuse of the Public Broadcasting Act and other public media, by Zanu-PF, but it is not clear if this will form part of the MDC Alliance’s data for the court by the Friday deadline.
It is also clear now, from long established parliamentary watchdog Veritas, that the constitution was ignored when the army was sent on to the streets during violent demonstrations last Wednesday.
Only the president of Zimbabwe can order the army out. The police made a statement after live ammunition from army weapons allegedly killed at least six people, seriously wounded about three and slightly wounded a further seven, that they could not cope with the violence and had asked the army to assist. It quoted the Public Order and Security Act as its legal cover.
But Veritas published the following: "Section 213 of the Constitution states that “only the President, as Commander-in-Chief”, has power to authorise the deployment of the Defence Forces, and that, with his authority, they may be deployed within Zimbabwe “in support of the Police Service in the maintenance of public order”.