The High court yesterday ruled in favour of a Zanu PF losing candidate for Chegutu West parliamentary seat Dexter Nduna, who was wrongly announced winner by ZEC in July harmonised elections.
According to law Zec’s announcement which ruled in favour of Nduna against MDC’s Trust Konjana could only be reversed by the electoral court despite Zec admitting the anomaly.
The electoral court declared Dexter Nduna as the winner and duly elected MP of Chegutu West parliamentary seat. Konjani’s case being dismissed with costs, according to the court.
Nduna was arguing the Electoral Court does not have the jurisdictional ability to nullify a declaration made by the electoral body and thereafter pronounce an alternative winner.
Zec had initially announced Nduna as the winner with 10 932 votes, and Konjana with 10 828 votes, before the latter challenged the result, claiming Zec mixed up the figures. But 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 in Harare seeking the nullification of Nduna’s declaration, adding a tabulation error occurred and prejudiced him of 120 votes that had been erroneously awarded to one Simon Kache of UCADPGPZ.
“The relief the petitioner (Konjana) seeks is irregular in that it is not contemplated by Statute. Firstly, the petitioner predicates his cause on section 66 (4) (a) of the Electoral Act. Under such provision the Electoral Court only has power to “set aside” a declaration and go no further. Under this provision the said court cannot “nullify” a declaration and thereafter pronounce an alternative winner as prayed for by the petitioner. This is incompetent relief,” Nduna said.
“In terms of section 66 (4) (c) as read with section 67A of the Electoral Act, this court only has power to declare another candidate the winner of an election after a recount of votes. The petitioner is therefore asking the court to exercise powers beyond the jurisdictional ability of the statutory provision he seeks to rely on. An exercise power beyond the jurisdictional ability of a court is irregular and void ad initio….”
Besides the jurisdictional ability of the Electoral Court, Nduna further said Konjana’s petition was afflicted with a myriad of procedural irregularities and therefore urged the court to dismiss it.
Nduna had two cases before the courts and now awaits the verdict of the other one of discharging a firearm during Zanu PF internal elections at Chinengundu Primary School in Chegutu.
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