THE 17 individuals who successfully filed their parliamentary nomination papers in Harare province on a CCC ticket ahead of the general elections to be held on 23 August — despite not being on the official party list — insist they were lawfully nominated and urged the Electoral Court to dismiss the opposition party’s application filed last week.
The 17 candidates are all represented by Madzima and Company Law Chambers, raising suspicion that they are coordinated.
The CCC wants the nomination of the candidates set aside, accusing them of fraud.
There are concerns that the shadowy Central Intelligence Organisation-run organisation, Forever Associates of Zimbabwe (Faz), whose activities are coordinated by CIO deputy director-general Douglas Tapfumaneyi, influenced the filing of double — and in some cases triple candidates — to undermine the opposition.
Through their lawyers in case number EC 3/23 the respondents argued they “were duly nominated and forwarded by the party as they participated in the internal process and were asked to submit their nomination papers by the party.”
“The respondents’ papers were indeed signed by the two designated officer bearers, the appellant is put to the strictest proof thereof,” they argued.
“There is no evidence of forgery out before the court, showing and juxtaposing the purported fake and real signatures.
“The symbol used was the same, the appellant has not again put before the court, the relevant papers of juxtaposition.”
They also argued that the CCC appeal is fatally defective as it is filed contrary to the provisions of section 46 (19) of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13).
“The appeal is fatally defective as it seeks to rely on section 46(9) of the Electoral Act which clearly states that ‘(9)If, on examining a nomination paper which specifies that the candidate concerned is to stand for or be sponsored by a political party, the nomination officer is doubtful that such fact is true, the nomination officer may require that the candidate or his or her chief election agent to produce proof as to such fact, and may adjourn the sitting of the court for that purpose from time to time: provided that the court may not be adjourned to any other day that is not a nomination day.’
“The provision strictly states that the nomination officer has to formulate an opinion of doubt that it is not true that such candidate is being sponsored by a certain political party. In the absence of proof of formulation of such an opinion, the appellant cannot challenge that the nomination officer erred in not proceeding in terms of the said Section 46(9) of the Act.”
The respondents said they presented their papers in terms of the law, arguing there was nothing that was put before the presiding officer indicating that they had forged any papers.
They said they were never called out as fraudulent and never at any time was doubt cast on the respondents’ papers.
“In the absence of such doubt on papers in terms of section 46(9) of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13) there is no basis to allege that there was disregard of the law. The letter by the appellant which so wished to disregard the participation of the respondents was only filed on the 22 June 2023 which is after the sitting of the nomination court as called for by section 46(9) of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13).”
The candidates sought the relief that “there is no justification for any of the relief sought, as there is no basis that has been laid legally for the relief being sought.”
The CCC says the fraudulent filing of nomination papers affected 15 constituencies in Harare, three constituencies in Bulawayo, one in Kariba, and one in Marondera.
Some wards were also affected in Harare, Bulawayo and Marondera.
In its application, the CCC is seeking: “the declaration that 2nd and 18th respondents were duly nominated on behalf of the appellant is set aside.
“That the costs shall be borne by any such party as resists the appeal and shall be so borne at the higher scale of legal practitioner and own client.”
In the application, the CCC highlighted that it had set out the terms of its objection to Zec, but the electoral body had not taken any corrective action.
In its ground of appeal, the CCC, through its lawyer Thabani Mpofu (pictured) instructed by Harare lawyer Webster Jiti, argued that “the presiding officer erred in the law in declaring 2nd to 18th respondents to have been duly nominated on behalf of appellant when their names were not put forward by the appellant”.
In addition, the party said their nomination papers had in actual effect not been signed by the two designated office bearers of the appellant.
“The signatures appearing on the nomination papers of the 2nd and 18th respondents as those of the designated offices bearers were forged, and do not comport to the specimen signatures given first respondent by appellant,” the lawyers argued.
“The symbol used in the papers was forged and is not that of appellant as given to first respondent.
“A fortiori and the circumstances of the matter considered, the presiding officer erred in not proceeding in terms of section 46 (9) of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2,13).
“The nomination papers presented by 2nd and 18th respondents having been fraudulent, the presiding officer erred in coming to the conclusion that such nomination papers were presented in terms of the law and had been validly completed.”
The respondents are Christmas Goremusandu (Sunningdale), Jonathan Machokoto (Mt Pleasant), Freddy Masarirevu (St Mary’s), Matika Energy Tanaka (Warren Park), Magweta George and Hasha Trouble (Harare South), Lloyd Sande (Hatcliffe), Griza Admire Adam (Hatfield) and Terrence Khumbula (Hunyani).
Solomon Baramasimbe and Didymus Bande, who were nominated for Epworth South constituency, were also cited alongside Irvine Hatitye Nyaningwe (Harare Central), Malvin Razaru (Harare East), Farai Micheal Padzarondora (Harare West), Enock Nyashadzashe Chitoro (Chitungwiza North), Shepherd Kariramombe (Chitungwiza South and Tichaona Nyikadzino (Churu).
The CCC’s national and provincial designated office bearers on Thursday last week wrote to Zec chief elections officer Utloile Silaigwana and provincial presiding/nomination officers informing them they had not counter-signed nomination forms for the candidates who were registered as double candidates.
They provided a list of bona fide candidates, but Zec has not taken corrective action.
CCC leader Nelson Chamisa last Thursday took to Twitter to announce his party was vigorously tackling the issue of fake double candidates.
“A huge scam — manufactured CCC double candidates . . . Our teams have just been to Zec to inspect the submitted nominations. It’s clear that the so-called ‘double candidates’ forged signatures and the CCC logo,” he said.
“Our CCC logo is embossed and not a photocopy as is the case with the ‘double candidates’. In addition, those nominations were not countersigned for by the designated officials of CCC. It’s clearly a sting operation!
“We will explore the remedies available at law which enjoin Zec to resolve this matter. We are pursuing this remedy with immediacy and urgency necessary.”