MDC Alliance Byo South candidate petitions court over poll result

MDC Alliance candidate for Bulawayo South Muvirimi Francis Mangwendeza has petitioned the High Court, seeking to overturn results of the recently held elections in which he lost to Zanu PF candidate Rajesh Kumara Indukant Modi.

BY SILAS NKALA

In his petition filed at the Bulawayo High Court by his lawyer Matshobana Ncube on August 10, Mangwendeza cited Modi and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) as respondents.
He alleged that the polls were tainted with a lot of irregularities.

Mangwendeza is seeking that the Bulawayo South seat be declared vacant to allow for fresh elections.

In his founding affidavit, Mangwendeza said he was selected as a candidate for the MDC Alliance in the constituency and he contested with several other candidates from other political parties, as well as independent candidates.

He said on July 3 Zec allegedly published a malicious statement declaring that he had withdrawn from the race without his knowledge and verification.

The applicant said this de-campaigned him and those who supported him would have thought he was no longer in the race. He said his loss in the July 30 elections might have been affected by Zec’s declaration.

He claimed to have discovered the anomaly on July 28 during the inspection of ballot papers.

“It is during such inspection that I realised some ballot papers for the MP did not have my name on them as a candidate,” Mangwendeza submitted.

“I raised this issue with second respondent (Zec)’s personnel and they confirmed that my name was missing in some ballot papers. In that regard, one B Sibanda purported to cancel those ballot papers which had my name missing. On July 29, it turned out that more ballot papers had my name missing in ward 21 and ward 6. Again, the second respondent undertook to cancel out such ballot papers.”

He said Zec indicated that their system was fool-proof, but it turned out that this was not the case as it emerged that not all the ballot papers in question were cancelled.
Mangwendeza said he received confirmation from various polling stations indicating that most of the ballot papers did not have his names on them.

He said about 50 of his supporters informed him that they could not find his name on the ballot papers and some of them filed their affidavits confirming that the ballots had his name missing.

Mangwendeza said on August 1 Zec pronounced the results of the polls and declared Modi as a winner, with Modi having polled 5 752 votes while his tally stood at 4 155 votes
He said had it not been for the ballots without his name, he would have beaten Modi in the polls. He prayed for the nullification of the results and declaration of the seat as vacant.

Modi and Zec are yet to file their responses to the petition.