All systems are in place for today’s by-elections as the High Court sealed the fate of 23 CCC party candidates whose names were expunged from the ballot papers because they have ceased to be members of the beleaguered political outfit.
Yesterday, CCC party interim secretary-general Sengezo Tshabangu successfully obtained leave of the High Court to execute the court’s judgment, granted two weeks ago, barring the 23 from contesting in the elections.
Justice Pisirayi Kwenda, who presided over the case a fortnight ago, made the ruling yesterday in favour of Tshabangu again, finding in his latest application to have the elections go ahead without the 23 participating in the elections despite their appeal pending in the Supreme Court.
“After reading documents filed of record, it is ordered that the application be and is hereby granted,” said Justice Kwenda
“The applicants be and are hereby granted leave to execute this court’s judgment in case No HCH 197/24 pending appeal in case No SC44/24.”
At least six constituencies will be having by-elections, among them Seke, Goromonzi South, Pelandaba; Chegutu West; Zvimba East, and Mkoba.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is now 100 percent ready to deliver seamless by-elections today, with the distribution of ballot papers already done.
About 230 400 ballot papers have been printed for the six constituencies, which includes the 6,7 percent contingency as required by the law in case some papers get spoiled.
For local authority by-elections, ZEC has printed 136 850 ballot papers including the 3, 79 contingencies that have already been printed.
The 552 polling stations will all be ready for use today. Command centres have been identified and made ready.
The electoral body’s vice chairperson Ambassador Sengezo Tshabangu has confirmed the development saying they are equally prepared to meet its obligation as required by the law.
Ambassador Kiwa said ZEC was appealing to political parties as well as voters to remain peaceful and champion peace before, during and after the polls.
“Let it be so during the voting today and let continue with the peace thereafter,” he emphasised.
He said the negation of peace would defeat the whole purpose of holding the polls and democracy at large.
“The bottom line is that we appeal to all participating political parties, individuals, and voters to remain peaceful. I think that is what is most important because we can have all the other things in place in terms of materials but if we don’t behave peacefully it negates everything that we are trying to put in place and achieve.
“So that is our biggest appeal, that let’s just walk the peaceful road during this by-election,” he said
ZEC was also encouraging observers to be accredited so they can inspect the polls.
Zanu PF Political Commissar Cde Mike Bimha said the party is ready to contest for the by-elections
“We are ready for the by-elections scheduled for today. As usual, we are always ready for any election. You see as the commiserate department our role is really to mobilise our supporters and to prepare for elections. We have a full section of our department just to look throughout the whole year.
“Most of our candidates have prepared for the by-elections. We have done our homework so we are rearing to go. On that note I am very confident that we are good to go,” said Cde Bimha.
Cde Bimha is confident that the party will fish from the opposition pond saying they have mastered the art of winning the elections.
“We have done our survey to see where we went wrong in the August harmonised elections, and what exactly do we need to do to get back these seats. “We have studied the constituencies well to find out what are some of the weaknesses and strengths of our strategies against the enemy and also to look at our candidates what are their strengths and what are their weakness. We did our homework work well and we will avoid the same problems that we had last time,” he said
Those barred from contesting in the polls under the CCC banner include deputy spokesperson Gift Ostallos Siziba who was a legislator for Pelandaba-Tshabalala, former leader of the opposition in Parliament Amos Chibaya who was Mkoba North Member of Parliament, and Stephen Chagwiza who was representing Goromonzi South.
Former Harare Mayor Ian Makone who was Councillor for Ward 18 is also among the 20 councillors to be expunged from the ballot papers.
The 23 had defiantly filed their nomination papers under the CCC which had recalled them in the first place, defying an earlier order by the High Court that prohibited recalled MPs from running for office in by-elections under the opposition party’s banner.
Two weeks ago, Justice Kwenda issued the order on the premise that the 23 candidates had ceased to be eligible to represent the opposition party when they were recalled by the party’s secretary-general.
The judge urged the CCC to put their house in order while also reprimanding them for wanting to “transmit factionalism” into the High Court.
The CCC’s internal disputes, he said, had nothing to do with the High Court.
“On documents before me, I see factions. Certain people are not happy about the recall. I think this issue should be resolved internally.
“There are issues the party should resolve and that should not concern me. Those differences must be resolved.
“It is regrettable that in advancing arguments the respondents’ lawyers sought to transmit that factionalism in the High Court to say I should depart from the judgment my colleague Justice Katiyo made,” he said.
To arrive at his decision, the judge was guided by precedent that had been set during the High Court’s previous pronouncements.
“The court abides by its previous decisions. The law requires the High Court to follow its previous pronouncement. This court is however not prohibited to depart from its previous pronouncement.”
SOURCE : ZIM SITUATION