High Court Dismisses MDC Candidate’s Election Challenge
The High Court has dismissed with costs, a court challenge by MDC-Alliance losing candidate for Kwekwe Central Constituency, Blessing Chebundo, citing lack of evidence among other reasons.
Masango “Blackman” Matambanadzo of National Patriotic Front (NPF) garnered 7 578 votes against Chebundo’s 7 127 to win the election.
Chebundo through his lawyers, Chitere, Chidawanyika and Partners filed an election petition at the Bulawayo High Court citing Matambanadzo as the respondent.
Chebundo accused Matambanadzo of vote buying, abuse of public resources and misrepresenting to the electorate that he was working with the MDC Alliance.
He argued that Matambanadzo dished out cash, rice and other goodies to buy votes and used Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to buy an ambulance that he used for campaigning thereby abusing public facilities.
In his ruling Bulawayo High Court Judge, Justice Thompson James Mabhikwa dismissed the application.
Justice Mabhikwa said Chebundo had no evidence against Matambanadzo.
Blackman — as Matambanadzo is known — was represented by Liberty Mashanyare of Mavhiringidze and Mashanyare Legal Practitioners.“Consequently the election petition is dismissed with costs.
“The court held that it was very difficult to prove a charge of corrupt practices merely on the basis of oral evidence because in election cases it is very easy to get the help of interested witnesses but very difficult to prove charges of corrupt practices,” said Justice Mabhikwa.
He said Chebundo should have applied for an interdict or disqualification of the respondent at the time the vote buying took place.
“I asked the petitioner and his counsel why they did not apply to the court for an interdict or even disqualification of the respondent right at the time rather than wait until voting was over and after they lost the election,” he said.
Justice Mabhikwa said there was no evidence that after receiving the goods, the people went on to vote for the respondent.
On allegations of misrepresentation or impersonation, Justice Mabhikwa said, the court was not going waste time pondering on how well the supporters knew their candidates.
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