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High Court Didn't Have The Right To Hear Case Of Disqualified Candidates: CCC Legal Team

9 months agoThu, 03 Aug 2023 09:56:38 GMT
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High Court Didn't Have The Right To Hear Case Of Disqualified Candidates: CCC Legal Team

The legal team representing 12 Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Parliamentary candidates disqualified from contesting in the 2023 elections yesterday argued that the High Court did not have the right the hear the matter.

During a submission made before a three-member panel of Supreme Court judges on Wednesday, Advocate Mpofu, a member of the legal team, invoked the Judicial Laws Amendment Act, which states that challenges to the nomination of candidates should be heard exclusively by the Electoral Court.

Mpofu argued that the High Court, which is not a specialised court, had erred by hearing a case that falls under the jurisdiction of the Electoral Court. The CCC legal team contended that the High Court’s decision was a violation of the law and established legal procedures, and emphasised that the Electoral Court is better equipped to handle election-related matters.

The Supreme Court is set to deliver a judgment on the case today (August 3, 2023). The outcome will also establish an important precedent regarding the jurisdiction of specialised courts in electoral disputes.

The CCC candidates were disqualified on the grounds that they submitted their nominations papers to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) through a third party, a police officer in violation of the Electoral Act. In his ruling, Justice Bongani Ndlovu said the separation of the papers from the CCC candidates through the medium of the Police Officer was unlawful. He added that the Electoral Act says the candidate or his/her agent must be in court and ready to submit at 4 pm. “It does not say that the candidate’s papers alone must be in the courtroom.”

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CCC candidates gave their nomination papers to the police officer following the instruction of the ZEC nomination officer for Bulawayo, Mr I. Ncube. ZEC officials said Ncube instructed the police officer to collect the papers shortly before 4 pm since the court was about to close and the courtroom was too small to accommodate all candidates who were queueing to submit their papers.

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