bY GIBBS DUBE//VOA//WASHINGTON — President Emmerson Mangagwa has filed his heads of arguments in a case in which the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa is seeking to overturn the result of the July 30 presidential election.
Chamisa’s lawyers, who submitted their heads of arguments at the weekend, say they were haggling with Mnangagwa’s lawyers in today’s pre-hearing conference over documents that will be used during the trial of the case on Wednesday.
Chamisa claims that he won the presidential election saying Mnangagwa’s election figures did not match with the number of people registered at certain polling stations.
According to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Mnangagwa initially won by 50.8 percent of the votes cast and Chamisa got 44.3 percent. The electoral body has now reduced Mnangagwa’s victory margin to 50.6 percent, claiming that some polling stations were mistakenly counted twice resulting in the incumbent president getting an extra 4,453 votes.
Announcing the anomaly, ZEC chairperson Priscilla Chigumba said, “After the correction of the observed errors … Nelson Chamisa gained 4,483 votes representing a change of 0.1 percent of the announced results whilst Emmerson Mnangagwa’s votes reduced by 4,453 votes representing a 0.8 percent of the announced results.”
“Overall the final computations do not alter significantly the announced 2018 presidential results.”
The corrected figures altered Chamisa’s final results to 44.39 instead of the 44.3 announced by ZEC a few days after the July 30 presidential poll.
Zanu PF lawyers are strongly opposing the MDC Alliance’s petition, claiming that his case lacks evidence and as a result they want it to be thrown out of the Constitutional Court.
“I fully understand the anxiety of the nation around the upcoming court case where we are challenging the subversion of the will of the people by ZEC in cahoots with some rogue elements in our state institutions. I would like to guarantee you that we have put up a very strong case to overturn the electoral fraud.
“I have put together an A-team of experienced, tried and tested legal experts drawn from the best minds in the region and in the country. These are led by our finest and very best legal minds. This team has been working tirelessly to protect your victory. I have confidence in them and in their assurances. We will together as a nation agree on a working programme for the total fulfilment of our vote.”
He said Zimbabweans should not allow ourselves to be intimidated by any political outfit, individuals or anyone.
“We are the masters of our own destiny. We are our own liberators. Without change we will fall back again into intolerable poverty and suffering for the next five years. Even in that case, if we don’t do it now, there is no guarantee that if we win again in 2023 those that are seeking to subvert your will are not planning to do it again.
“In the interest of our country, its people and the economy, ZEC must accept that it has played a divisive role in our politics. What was a clear and unambiguous victory has been muddied by partisan individuals in ZEC. I say to those in ZEC who were used as trojan horses, your country is aware of the pressure you were put under. You now have to help our country move beyond the crisis caused by the current leadership’s connivance with Zanu PF elements.”
Chamisa said Mnangagwa should accept the election defeat, “concede and allow our country to move forward.”
But Zanu PF’s Believe Gaule, who is a member of the powerful Politburo, said Chamisa and his colleagues are wasting time by challenging the outcome of the presidential election.
“They lost the election and for them now to go to the courts … They are just abusing electoral laws. They have a weak case and therefore are bound to lose. We don’t see them going anywhere with this case.”