In a bid to contest in the upcoming August 23 elections, the Twelve Citizen Coalition for Change (CCC) aspiring legislators, who were previously disqualified for late submission of nomination papers on June 21, have taken their case to the Constitutional Court. The group is appealing against the judgment of the Bulawayo High Court that barred them from running in the elections.
Confirmation of this move came from Fadzayi Mahere, the CCC spokesperson, who took to Twitter on Friday to share the development. According to Mahere, the group’s lawyers have filed an appeal under the reference Case Number SCB86/23. This appeal, as per the rules, suspends the effect of the High Court’s judgment, effectively keeping the CCC candidates on the ballot until the appeal is heard and resolved.
Grounds for the appeal were made clear by the candidates’ legal team. They argue that the High Court committed a grave error by proceeding to hear the merits of the case without first addressing the points raised before it. Furthermore, they contend that the court exceeded its jurisdiction, emphasizing that the matter falls under the exclusive purview of the electoral court and that the High Court entertained a review disguised as a declarator.
The lawyers further asserted that the High Court made serious errors by admitting inadmissible hearsay evidence and neglecting to acknowledge that the candidates had submitted their nomination papers on time. According to them, this should have qualified the appellants as duly nominated by the nomination court.
The appellants seek a favorable outcome, urging the court to allow the appeal with associated costs and set aside the judgment passed by the High Court.
The twelve aspiring legislators at the center of this appeal are as follows: Collins Discent Bajila, Sichelesile Mahlangu, Gift Siziva, Surrender Kapoikilu, Jane Nicola Watson, Minenhle Gtandonyenkosi Gumede, Prince Dube, Desire Moyo, Desmond Makaza, Obert Manduna, Pashor Raphael Sibanda, and Gono Ereck.
On the other side of the legal battle, the respondents include Tatenda Mdzirashe, Hardlife Ndlovu, Ashley Letters Moyo, Sandra Dube, Linda Mpofu, Ramson Junior Chingwara, Panashe Gleyn Machekano, Gloria Dube, Hellen Moyo, Rachel Dube, Mayibonginkosi Nkomo, Marshal Nkomo, Innocent Ncube, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), ZEC chairperson Priscilla Chigumba, Frank Mhlanga, Nompilo Bhebhe, Strike Mkandla, and Nqobizitha Ndlovu.
As the matter now heads to the Constitutional Court, all eyes will be on the legal proceedings, as the fate of these aspiring legislators hangs in the balance. The outcome of this appeal could have significant implications for the upcoming elections.