Nkayi North MDC-T candidate challenges Sithembiso Nyoni’s victory

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) losing Nkayi North candidate Chief Ndlovu has approached the Electoral Court seeking the nullification of Zanu PF’s Sithembiso Nyoni’s victory in the August 23 election, following dissatisfaction with the number of assisted voters in the constituency.

Nyoni won the election with 5,492 votes, while Ndlovu polled 4,065 votes.

Mandla Ndlovu of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) received 3110 votes and independent candidate Mathema Sithabisiwe received votes.

She has since been appointed as the Minister of Industry.

In his application, Ndlovu cited Sithembiso Gile Nyoni as the first respondent, Mandla Ndlovu as the second respondent, Sithabisiwe Mathema as the third respondent, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission as the fourth respondent,, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission as the 5th respondent, Sithabisile Ncube as the sixth respondent, Nkosilathi Ncube as the seventh respondent, Virginia Ndlovu as the eighth respondent, Judah Ndlovu as the ninth respondent, Andrew Dube as the 10th respondent, Nkemezulu Sibanda as the 11th respondent, Fundani Dube as the 12th  respondent and Zebron Ncube as the 13th respondent. 

 Ndlovu who is represented by Lovemore Madhuku Lawyers argued that Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) failed to conduct the elections according to the principles laid down in the Electoral Act in respect to assisted voters. 

Ndlovu’s affidavit states that over 1,500 voters were assisted to vote, a figure of more than 12 percent of the persons who voted. He argues that this figure is “wholly unrealistic” given the very high literacy levels in Nkayi North and that the conduct of ZEC in this regard was not in accordance with the provisions of section 59 of the Electoral Act (2:13).

“The contraventions of the aforesaid section 59 of the Electoral Act (2:13) were in the following respects: None of the persons assisted was illiterate as required by section 59 of the of the Electoral Act,” read the court papers. 

Ndlovu said Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) presiding officers did not satisfy themselves that the assisted voters were illiterate. 

“Many of the assisted voters were not advised by the 5th respondent’s presiding officers that they could select a person of their choice to assist them,” he said. 

Ndlovu added that there are no special registers produced by ZEC as required by subsections 3 and 6 of section 59 of the electoral act (2:13). 

“There was overwhelming disregard of the provisions of section 59 of the Electoral Act (2:13) leading to an abuse of the facility relating to illiterate and physically handicapped voters with a view to favoring the 1st respondent. The votes of the over 1 500 persons who

Ndlovu alleges that the following contraventions of section 59 of the Electoral Act were committed:

Ndlovu further alleges that the substantial non-compliance with section 59 of the Electoral Act (2:13) affected the results of the election, as there is a reasonable doubt as to who would have won the election had those voters voted either without assistance or strictly in terms of section 59 of the Electoral Act.

In addition, Ndlovu alleges that Nyoni secured her election through corrupt practices and electoral malpractices, including systematically removing his campaign and billboards and intimidating voters into voting for her by moving around in and around polling stations during voting hours and taking down or purporting to be taking down names of voters. He alleges that these corrupt practices and electoral malpractices were committed through Nyoni’s agents, who are the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th respondents in the application.

Ndlovu is seeking a declaration that Nyoni was not duly elected on August 23, 2023 as a member of the National Assembly for Nkayi North constituency and that Nyoni’s seat in the National Assembly is vacant forthwith.

He is also seeking order directing the Speaker of the National Assembly to inform the President that a vacancy has arisen in respect of the Nkayi North Constituency.

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