Zimbabwe Constitutional Court reserves ruling to Friday 2PM

The Constitutional Court has now come to the end of the hearing, having heard submissions from legal representatives of Nelson Chamisa (applicant), President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa (1st respondent) and the ZEC (another respondent).

Chief Justice Luke Malaba has announced that the court will make a ruling on Friday, 24 August 2018 at 14:00 HRS.

Crowds gathered on Wednesday around screens outside Zimbabwe’s top court to watch a legal showdown, as lawyers for Mnangagwa and opposition leader Nelson Chamisa squared off before nine Constitutional Court judges.

Chamisa’s challenge claims the electoral commission bumped up Mnangagwa’s figures through double counts and the creation of “ghost” polling stations.

Lawyers representing opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Nelson Chamisa arrive at court to challenge President Emmerson Mnangagwa's election victory in Harare, Zimbabwe August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Lawyers representing opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Nelson Chamisa arrive at court to challenge President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s election victory in Harare, Zimbabwe August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

It also alleges that some polling stations recorded more voters than those registered to vote.

“It’s like a kid was playing with the figures,” a lawyer for the opposition, Thabani Mpofu, told the court. He alleged that 16 polling stations had identical results and that “massive doctoring” took place.

Chief Justice Luke Malaba, however, pressed the opposition for the original election results forms to back up their allegations: “We cannot act on generalities”.

Mnangagwa and the electoral commission argue the opposition’s application should be dismissed on a technicality, saying it was filed too late and that papers were not properly served on respondents.

In his affidavit, Mnangagwa argues the court should not hear Chamisa’a application because he “scandalised” the court by claiming during political rallies that the judiciary was biased toward the ruling party, Zanu-PF.

Mnangagwa also accuses Chamisa of making “illusionary promises” to voters during campaign.

The case was being televised live by the state broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, but the courts ruled that the proceedings could not be livestreamed on social media.

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Journalists and others accredited by the court were following proceedings from a giant television screen on the court premises, but they were not permitted to carry mobile phones or laptops.