The Electoral Court yesterday started hearing the case in which zanu-pf aspiring candidate for Harare East in the June by-elections Cde Terence Mukupe, is challenging the party’s decision to withdraw his nomination papers at the 11th hour.Cde Mukupe had been announced as the winner of the party primary elections to contest in Harare East.
But his papers were rejected by the Nomination Court sitting in Harare on April 16 after zanu-pf secretary for Administration Cde Ignatius Chombo, wrote to Zimbabwe Electoral Commission advising the officials that the party had withdrawn the candidature. The party replaced Cde Mukupe with Cde Mavis Gumbo, who then successfully filed her papers to represent zanu-pf in the election slated for June 10.
Cde Mukupe polled 651 votes against Gumbo’s 369. Through his lawyer Advocate Sylvetser Hashiti instructed by Ms Pinah Kadawu, Cde Mukupe challenged the decision at the Electoral Court.
Yesterday lawyers representing the parties submitted partial arguments before Justice Chinembiri Bhunu, sitting in his chambers. The hearing of the dispute continues today in the judge’s chambers since the case was brought under a certificate of urgency. Cde Mukupe argues that he won the primary elections and to strengthen his case, he has letters and affidavits from zanu-pf party Commissar Cde Saviour Kasukuwere confirming that he is candidate for the party in the forthcoming by-elections.
On the other side, Cde Gumbo, who is being represented by Mr Moses Kamdefwere claims Cde Chombo ordered the withdrawal of Cde Mukupe’s candidature.
The withdrawal letter authored by the party’s secretariat took away the right, prompting Cde Mukupe to file the court challenge. He is seeking an order setting aside his disqualification as the zanu-pf candidate and wants to be declared the party’s official candidate.
In his papers submitted at the Electoral Court last week, Cde Mukupe listed Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Justice Rita Makarau, nomination officer Mrs Kurima and zanu-pf Harare provincial chairman Mr Godwills Masimirembwa as respondents.