The Electoral Court has thrown out an application by MDC-T official Mr Jameson Timba in which he was seeking to compel the electoral commission to allow him to open sealed ballot boxes and to inspect the election material. Mr Timba lost the Mt Pleasant National Assembly seat to Zanu-PF’s Cde Jason Passade in the election held on 31 July this year.
Justice Joseph Mafusire ruled that Mr Timba’s case could not succeed because the law required him to first file a petition before seeking access to the election material.
“In the result I find that the applicant’s request for the opening of the ballot material for the Mt Pleasant constituency in respect of the July 31 2013 harmonised election in the absence of a petition actually filed by him and lodged with the registrar of the electoral court as contemplated by Section 167 as read with Section 168 of the Electoral Act, has been made pre-maturely.
“Therefore, the urgent chamber application is hereby dismissed with costs.
“With the disposal of this single point, I have found it unnecessary to decide the rest of the other points in contention,” ruled Justice Mafusire.
Upon receipt of the judgment, Mr Timba could be seen milling around the High Court building going through the judgment while his lawyers were queueing to file the petition.
In the evening, the lawyers managed to file the petition among other losing candidates.
Mr Timba, who cited numerous irregularities in the conduct of the poll, wants access to the records to prove that the election results were manipulated.
Among a cocktail of irregularities he listed in his application is the varying constituency results announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, as well as the voters’ roll.
Advocate Thabani Mpofu acted for Mr Timba while Mr Tawanda Kanengoni and Mr Charles Nyika represented the commission in the chamber application.
He also wants to invalidate the victory of Cde Passade on the basis that ZEC issued conflicting results for Mt Pleasant.
In submissions filed at the Electoral Court, Zec lawyer Mr Tawanda Kanengoni argued that the production or opening of sealed ballot boxes could only be done for the purposes of instituting or maintaining a criminal prosecution, or for the purpose of a petition questioning an election or return.
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