CCC demands inclusion of barred candidates on ballot papers

The Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party has written to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) requesting that the names of its eight MP candidates who were barred from running in Saturday’s by-elections by the High Court be included in the ballot papers, noting it has appealed that decision.

This comes after ZEC announced it was recalling ballot papers that had been printed and distributed in areas where by-elections would be held in order to reprint fresh papers after the High Court ruled the recalled CCC could not contest using the party name.

Sengezo Tshabangu, the CCC’s self-proclaimed interim Secretary General, brought this case forward at the High Court, arguing that since he had recalled these candidates from the party, they could not represent CCC in the by-elections as they had not been restored as party members.

As a result, the High Court dismissed the candidacy of 22 recalled CCC candidates, despite the fact that they were successfully nominated on November 7, 2023 at Nomination Courts in Bulawayo, Lupane, Gwanda, and Harare.

The High Court decision came after ZEC had already printed the ballot papers and set them out for inspection at the respective constituencies, so the commission said it was withdrawing the ballot papers printed with the names of the recalled candidates in accordance with the court order.

ZEC noted that out of the 22 candidates interdicted by the High Court, there were eight who were nominated for the direct first-past-the-post elections.

These eight are Prince Dubeko Sibanda contesting in Binga North, Bright Vanya Moyo running in Lupane East, Pashor Raphael Sibanda standing in Cowdray Park, Nicola Jane Watson running in Bulawayo South, Erick Gono contesting in Lobengula-Magwegwe, Morgan Ncube, contesting in Beitbridge West, Obert Manduna running in Nketa and Desmond Makaza standing in Mpopoma -Mzilikazi.

“Consequently, the said persons are not candidates for the by-elections to be held on December 9, 2023,” said ZEC Chief Elections Officer, Utloile Silaigwana.

“In terms of the court order, the commision has been ordered not to include the names of the said persons in the preparation of ballot papers that had been printed and distributed to the respective constituencies and will reprint and redistribute ballots that are in compliance with the court order.”

Silaigwana said the recall of the ballot papers will not affect the number of ballot papers to be reprinted.

“Kindly note that this will not affect the number of ballots to be printed and the number remains as notified in the notice published on 27 November 2023. The printer remains the Printing and Minting Company,” said the ZEC CEO.

However CCC has submitted to ZEC notifying the commission that it has appealed to the Supreme Court, meaning the High Court judgement was suspended pending hearing of the case.

“To this end we demand those of our clients in respect of whom by-elections are due to be held on 9 December 2023 be on the ballot papers,” read the letter penned by CCC lawyers – Mbidzo, Muchadehama and Makoni Legal practitioners.

The other CCC candidates who were under the proportional system and disqualified by the High Court include Veliswe Nkomo, Jasmine Toffa, Stabile Mlilo, Evidence Sunungurai Zana, Janeth Dube, Gideon Shoko, Tendai Sibanda, Anastacia Moyo, Joel Gabuzza, David Chiminhi, Siphiwe Ncube, Felix Sibanda, Helen Zivira and Mativenga Madzikana .

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