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Legal experts support ConCourt ruling

By Wisdom Mumera

Various legal practitioners in the country have thrown their weight behind Constitutional Court judgment that threw away MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa’s election petition with costs.

Chamisa was challenging election results announced by the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) which declared President Emmerson Mnangagwa the winner with about 50.67 percent.

The MDC Alliance leader was of the view that there was tampering with figures coupled with other alleged malpractices in favour of the Zanu PF candidate.

Delivering the court judgment Chief Justice Luke Malaba said the applicant failed to furnish the court with evidence to support his claims and therefore there was nothing to prove his allegations.

“In the final analysis, the court finds the applicant has failed to place before it clear, direct, sufficient and credible evidence of irregularities.

“Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa is duly declared the winner of Presidential elections held on the 30th of July 2018,” he said.

While Chamisa’s camp has hit out at the judgment describing it as “captured”, some legal practitioners have however stood up in support of the court decision.

Advocate Tinashe Yali said the ruling was a lesson in legal matters that should not be diluted by partisan emotions.

“The most important lesson is probably the value of primary information.

“We were all taught to move away from general allegations towards specific claims which show a substantial deviation from the law.

“That seems to be where the case fell short and where the lawyers from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission were particularly well-equipped,” he said.

Another legal practitioner Zach Ndlovu concurred pointing at the grilling of Thabani Mpofu, cited by some as prejudice against the opposition, as the norm of any court challenge.

“It’s a norm that the applicant is grilled remember he who alleges must prove. If you have appeared as an applicant’s practitioner before you would know that’s what happens. The onus in on the applicant who has the burden of proof and to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the respondent has a case to answer,” he said.

Another lawyer, who refused to be named, added that the opposition had undone itself by trusting upon technical evidence and expert opinions whilst overlooking the basics.

“Why didn’t applicant include the primary evidence as the court wanted and which the lawyers should have known?

“They should have filed ‘the bundle’ when filing the founding affidavit and not wait for the last day. Sometimes we may accuse the bench of bias but it seems to me some of these things were in applicant’s control from the go,” he added.

Various other quarters are however not convinced and have accused the judiciary of being captured by the executive with inauguration preparations at the National Sports Stadium before the Concourt ruling feeding into the theory that the ruling was also rigged.

President Mnangagwa has, however, come out stating that they were convinced of a win prior to the ruling as the opposition’s case was flimsy.

“We were not surprised by the court’s decision. The election results were firmly in line with all the pre-election polling, and were entirely consistent with the final tally of ZESN, the largest body of independent observers”, he said on social media.

The Concourt ruling has since paved the way open for the inauguration of President Mnangagwa to be held this Sunday at the National Sports Stadium.

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Daniel Chigundu

Daniel Chigundu is a male journalist in Zimbabwe and has been practising since September 2009. He writes for The Business Connect (newspaper) in Harare, has his own news website Tourism Focus which is biased towards the tourism sector. Daniel is also working with Magamba Network on their project called Open Parliament where they do live coverage of Parliamentary activities on Twitter and Facebook. He is currently the secretary general of the Zimbabwe Parliamentary Journalists Forum, is a member of Zimbabwe Small Broadcasters Association. He holds a Diploma in Communication and Journalism from the Christian College of Southern Africa (CCOSA), a certificate in Youth leadership training from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), a certificate in Citizen Journalism from Magamba Network and is currently a first-year student at Zimbabwe Open University studying for a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Ethics and Organisational Leadership.

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