THE Supreme Court has effectively shut the door of appeal in a case in which the opposition CCC was fighting to stop the inclusion of bogus candidates purporting to represent the party in 17 constituencies during next Wednesday’s elections.
In a blanket letter to the party and the 17 double candidates, dated 16 August, acting High Court registrar Dorothy Hazvinei Mwanyisa said the matter would not be heard on an urgent basis when the elections are due in five days’ time.
The letter was written to the CCC through its lawyers Webster Jiti of Jiti Law Chambers, Advocate Thabani Mpofu and Paidamoyo Saurombe.
Part of the letter reads: “We acknowledge receipt of correspondence from Jiti Law Chambers dated 11 August 2023 requesting the Registrar to accept heads of argument in this case prematurely. The Registrar has not received the record of proceedings in terms of the Supreme Court Rules, 2018.
“Neither have appellants’ legal practitioners been invited to file heads of argument in terms of Rule 52 (1).
“Kindly take note that the appeal will proceed in terms of the procedures prescribed by the Rules.” Jameson Timba, a senior CCC official, told The NewsHawks that the decision by the court “to refuse to bar bogus people purporting to represent the opposition party,” is a shame.
“Our position remains the same. The CCC determines who its candidates are. Not Zec, not Faz, not Zanu PF, or a court of law. The people of Zimbabwe are not fools.
“They know who their candidates are, and to us they are the final court of appeal on this matter. “They will not vote for fake candidates. The response from the court is unexpected, but we will win this election notwithstanding.” Jiti said: “We requested the High Court to expedite the preparation of the record of proceedings, but up to now nothing has been availed. Effectively our client’s appeal will be heard well after the elections and the outcome will have little or no practical significance. Remember the crux of the matter is on the inclusion of bogus CCC candidates on the ballot papers.”
Last week, the lawyers said the Supreme Court was rejecting the opposition party’s heads of argument in the case in which the party is appealing a High Court order upholding the filing of nomination papers by the 17 double candidates across the country.
The CCC maintains the candidates forged signatures of senior officials at the behest of the CIO-linked Forever Associates of Zimbabwe (Faz). Working on the instructions of CCC, the lawyers had successfully filed an appeal at the High Court against the 17 double candidates two weeks ago.
It was therefore a legal requirement for them to file their heads of argument for the case so that they can be heard.
However, CCC lawyer Saurombe said while they had prepared convincing arguments to overturn the High Court judgement on CCC double candidates, the Supreme Court was rejecting them.
“The heads of argument are fine but the Supreme Court is rejecting them,” he said. In a follow-up by The NewsHawks on Friday after working hours, Saurombe said the Supreme Court had rejected the papers again.
“They rejected them again today,” he said.
“We are filing on the IECMS system and they are being rejected. We went to physically check at the Supreme Court and we were told that the record has not been transmitted from the High Court. We insisted the heads of argument should be issued out, but today we filed again and they refused.” Saurombe revealed that they have now written to the High Court registrar seeking his intervention so that they file their papers.
Asked on whether the hiccups will not be affected by the fast-approaching date of elections, Saurombe said: “As long as it is before elections (there is no problem) but if ballots are printed it becomes problematic for Zec (to implement ruling it comes in favour of CCC),” he said.
In another setback, Saurombe revealed that they had again not been called for case management over the matter despite filing the appeal last month.
Last month, High Court justice Neville Wamambo dismissed an application filed by the CCC on the bogus candidates who forged signatures of the party officials to file as representing the opposition outfit.
Judge Wamambo in his judgment said there was nothing suspicious about the papers of the bogus candidates.
The ruling which sparked public outrage resulted in CCC filing the appeal at the Supreme Court. Last week, Saurombe said they had a strong case against the Justice Wamambo’s ruling.
He said their major argument will simply be to tell the Supreme Court that the CCC has distanced itself from the candidates so they cannot use its name on elections.
“Justice Wamambo ruled that we should not have approached the court using the appeal route and that there was nothing amiss to show that the bogus candidates were not CCC candidates.
“Our appeal is simply saying, if the party has distanced itself from those candidates, that is the end of the matter. Zec cannot force candidates on CCC. The candidates can stand in any other name but not our client’s name,” he said.
“It is a strong case against Justice Wamambo. We are now awaiting the case management engagement then we file our heads of argument,” he said.
According to the CCC, the 17 candidates forged signatures on their nomination papers in connivance with the shadowy Zanu PF-affiliated group, Faz.
Faz, which has links with the Central Intelligence Organisation under the organisation’s deputy director-general Walter Tapfumanei, is running Zanu PF campaigns.
The CCC was forced to approach the courts after the double candidates ignored an ultimatum to withdraw their nomination papers.
At the High Court, the CCC said there was everything wrong about the papers of the double candidates. “The symbol used on the nomination papers was forged and is not that of the appellant (CCC) as given to first respondent (Zec),” the CCC submitted.
“The nomination papers presented by second to 18th respondents (candidates) 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 CCC in its current Supreme Court appeal named the bogus candidates as Solomon Baramasimbe, Didymus Bande, Irvin Hatitye Nyaningwe, Malvin Razaru, Farai Michael Padzarondora, Enock Nyadhadzashe Chitoro, Shepherd Kariramombe, Traswell Chikomo, Christmas Gotemusandu, Jonathan Machokoto, Freddy Michael Masarirevhu, Tanaka Matika, George Magweta, Trouble Hasha, Lloyd Sande, Admire Adam Criza and Terrence Khumbula. Zec is cited as the first respondent followed by rest of the 18 parallel candidates.
Zec at the High Court was represented by Tawanda Kanengoni and the rest of the respondents by Tinashe Zinto.