The High Court has granted an order requested by Sengezo Tshabangu, who claims to be the interim secretary-general of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), barring the party’s recalled candidates from contesting in the upcoming December 9 by-elections under the CCC name.
This means the recalled candidates will not be participating in the Saturday by-elections.
However, the CCC has stated it is appealing the High Court’s decision at the Supreme Court, though the party may find itself in a tricky spot as Tshabangu’s lawyer, Advocate Lewis Uriri, told journalists that the order granted by the High Court was declaratory and an appeal will not suspend it.
In his judgement, High Court Judge, Justice Never Katiyo, stated the nomination of the recalled CCC candidates was illegal and that these individuals should not run on Saturday’s by-elections.
“The decision of the Nomination Court sitting at Harare, Bulawayo, Gwanda, Lupane and/or any other location around the country on 7 November 2023 to accept the nomination papers and candidature of the first to 22nd respondents (that is the recalled CCC candidates) for election in the by-elections set to be conducted on 9 December 2023 is unlawful, of no force and effect and hereby set aside,” said the judge.
The 22 cited CCC candidates include the recalled MPs and senators who are:
Prince Dubeko Sibanda, Bright Moyo, Veliswe Nkomo, Jasmine Toffa, Stabile Mlilo, Pashor Raphael Sibanda, Nicola Jane Watson, Erick Gono, Evidence Sunungurai Zana, Morgan Ncube, Obert Manduna, Janeth Dube, Desmond Makaza, Gideon Shoko, Tendai Sibanda, Anastasia Moyo, Joel Gabuza, David Chimhini, Siphiwe Ncube, Felix Sibanda, Helen Zivira and Mativenga Madzikana.
Justice Katiyo said these 22 aforementioned respondents are no longer candidates for election in the by-elections scheduled for December 9, 2023.
The judge further ordered the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the Minister of Justice, Legal And Parliamentary Affairs, Ziyambi Ziyambi, not to include their names on the ballot papers.
“(ZEC) and (Minister of Justice, Legal And Parliamentary Affairs) shall not include the names of 1st to 22nd respondents in the preparation of ballot papers to be used in the by-elections scheduled to be conducted on 9 December 2023,” said Justice Katiyo.
The judge added that the recalled 22 CCC members were not allowed to misrepresent themselves to the public or voters as candidates in the coming Saturday by-elections.
“The 1st to 22nd respondents are interdicted from representing or holding themselves out to the general public and electorate in the constituencies concerned or any other place in Zimbabwe, whether physically or through any form of media, as candidates for election in by-elections scheduled to be held on 9 December 2023,” he said.
The judge further ordered the recalled CCC candidates and the CCC party to “jointly and severally pay the Tshabangu’s legal fees on the ordinary scale.
Meanwhile, CCC spokesperson, Gift Ostallos Siziba, said the opposition party has gone to the Supreme Court to appeal the judgement made by the High Court.
“We have appealed against the decision of the High Court to side with Tshabangu et al in removing our candidates from the by-election,” he said.
“There’s no way we can have an election without candidates that were legitimately nominated. Zanu PF is afraid of an election, they were rejected even in a flawed election on August 23. We will not accept this, we will fight!”
CCC legislator, Fadzai Mahere also claimed the removal of the contesting candies was part of “Zanu PF’s attempt to ban their candidates” and described that as a “crass abrogation of the will of the people.”
“The CCC filed the same application to bar fraudulent double candidates before the 23 August election and it was thrown out. This has nothing to do with the law and everything to do with Zanu PF wanting Gold Mafia Scott (Sakupwanya) to stand uncontested in the Mabvuku by-election,” she stated on her X account.
Mahere said Zanu PF candidates were “unelectable” so they had resorted to “abusing state institutions, abducting and murdering our volunteers and playing dirty to create a one-party state.”