BULAWAYO HIGH Court judge, Justice Bongani Ndlovu has ruled that the decision by Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to accept nomination papers of members of various political parties who filed their papers after the 4PM deadline is null and void.
The candidates who were disqualified are as follows Obert Manduna, Ereck Gono, Douglas Ncube, Gift Ostallos Siziva, Sanpoulus Maplanka, Prince Ncube, Nqobizitha Ndlovu, Desmond Makaza, Bajila Collins Descent, Sichelesile Mhlanga, Desire Moyo, Adelaide Mhlanga, Nompilo Bhebhe, Surrender Kapoikilu, Raphael Pashor Sibanda, Ntandoyenkosi Minenhle Gumede and Frank Mhlanga.
The operative part of the judgment was read today by Justice Nokuthula Moyo during the motion court.
The ruling automatically sets aside the nomination of members of opposition parties who filed their nomination papers last month, which effectively means they will no longer participate in the August 23 polls.
The Nomination Court sat on June 21 to accept papers from aspiring candidates. ZEC sat the next day to accommodate some aspiring candidates who had failed to file their papers on time.
“It is declared that the decision of the first respondent (ZEC), sitting as a Nomination Court at Bulawayo on 21 and 22 June 2023 to accept the respondents’ nomination papers and candidature in the elections scheduled for 23 August 2023 is declared null and void and is hereby set aside,” ruled Justice Ndlovu.
ZEC, which had since published the final list of candidates participating in the harmonised elections, was also ordered not to include the names of the aspiring candidates in the ballot papers.
“Accordingly, ZEC is prohibited from including the names of the respondents in the preparation of ballot papers to be used in the August 23 general elections. Respondents shall jointly and severally pay the costs of suit,” ruled Justice Ndlovu.
The candidates from various political parties which include Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), Zapu, Free Zim Congress and the Zimbabwe African National Congress (ZANC) submitted their papers after the 4pm deadline.
Twelve consolidated urgent chamber applications for declaratory order were recently filed at the Bulawayo High Court by registered voters in Bulawayo. Cheda and Cheda Associates is representing all the applicants.
They are challenging ZEC’s decision to accept the nomination papers from the opposition party candidates after the deadline.
The applicants also sought an order disqualifying the aspiring MPs for filing their nomination papers after the 4pm deadline.