The Constitutional Court is toady set to hear an application by a losing opposition MDC party’s parliamentary candidate Gift Konjana seeking to nullify the declaration by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) that Dexter Nduna of ZANU PF party MP Dexter Nduna as the winner of the Chegutu West constituency during the 2018 harmonised elections.
Konjana is seeking an order granting him leave to appeal against the Supreme Court’s decision which on 23 March upheld the Electoral Court’s decision.
In his application Konjana argued that the Supreme Court decided constitutional matters & issues connected with decisions on constitutional matters & erred in its judgment by failing to hold that based on a constitutionally compliant interpretation, section 182(2) of Electoral Act is directory & cannot constitutionally operate as a time bar to the determination of an appeal already properly pending before it.
Meanwhile, just after the polling process of the July 30, 2018 general elections, ZEC had initially announced Nduna as the winner with 10 932 votes, and Konjana with 10 828 votes.
However, while ZEC reportedly admitted to have made an error, the electoral body advised Konjana that the results could only be overturned by the Electoral Court.
Konjana then filed a petition with the Electoral Court seeking the nullification of Nduna’s declaration adding a tabulation error occurred and prejudiced him of 120 votes.
However, Justice Mary-Zimba Dube said the legal practitioner who drafted the petition on behalf of Konjana, cited in the judgement only as M. Nkomo, had “paid lip service to the law and the rules governing election petitions” when he drafted the petition.
“Looking at the form and content of this petition, what comes to the fore is a damn failure by the legal practitioner who drafted this petition to address his mind to the nature of the matter he was dealing with. He failed to appreciate that he was dealing with an election matter which is governed by different rules of practice,” Justice Dube said.
She ruled that the unfortunate scenario is that where a petitioner files a defective petition, the court can do nothing to salvage the situation even in a case where the petition may seem to have merit.