The losing candidates from ZANU PF in Zvimba East and Seke constituencies have approached the courts to overturn the final results announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) in last month’s elections. Francis Mukwangwariwa, the ZANU PF candidate for Zvimba East, lost to Oliver Mutasa of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) by 189 votes. In the Seke constituency, ZANU PF candidate Munyaradzi Tobias Kashambe was defeated by William Madzimbamuto of CCC by 755 votes.
The ZANU PF candidates have filed a petition in court against the winners and ZEC, seeking to overturn the declaration and requesting that the respondents cover the legal costs. Mukwangwariwa’s petition alleges electoral irregularities that occurred on August 23, the day of the voting. Mukwangwariwa wrote in his affidavit:
On the day of voting and at Stapleford Siding polling station there were various electoral irregularities that occurred more particularly in that: The Zec officials who were at the said polling station were giving voters aligned to Mutasa more ballot papers than what is required. Some of the voters aligned to Mutasa were being given five ballot papers instead of three ballot papers. The extra two ballot papers were for the National Assembly elections ballots.
My election polling agents noticed the anomaly and complained to the Zec official and the later did not address the issue in a meaningful way. My polling agents witnessed and confirmed one voter namely Oliver ID 63-163346-W-63, who had been given five ballot papers with extra two parliamentary ballots all of which had been voted in favour of Mutasa.
Mukwangwariwa claimed that despite alerting the police, ZEC ignored irregularities at the polling station. He argued that the declaration of poll results lacked information on rejected votes, contradicting his observations of people voting with extra ballot papers. His polling agent refused to sign the V23B form due to inconsistencies. Mukwangwariwa criticized the lack of proper verification and reconciliation before declaring the final results. The respondents’ response is pending.
In the Seke constituency, Kashambe, the losing ZANU PF candidate, is requesting a vote recount due to alleged mathematical errors in tallying the total votes, resulting in an inflated count for Madzimbamuto. Kashambe also claims corruption, stating that elderly voters were denied assistance despite difficulties finding their names on the voter list. Kaseke alleges:
ELECTION PETITION IN TERMS OF SECTION 167 OF THE ELECTORAL ACT, As Read with the Electoral Rules and Regulations.
TAKE NOTICE THAT the Petitioner Intends to make, and hereby presents, an Election Petition to the Electoral Court, sitting at Harare, challenging the result of the Rational Assembly Election for the MASHONALAND EAST PROVIIICE, SEKE, held as part of the 2023 General Elections. This Petition is presented in terms of Section 167 of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13] and Electoral (Applications, Appeals and Petitions,1995) for an Order setting, aside the declaration by the Constituency Elections Officer of TAPFUMAIIEI WILLARD MADZIMBAMUTO as the duly elected Member of the National Assembly for MASHOHALAI ID EAST PROVINCE SEKE Constituency in the General Elections held on the 23’a of August 2023 and that An order for re-election and/or alternatively an order for a vote recount be granted.
The grounds for this petition are:-
a. Irregularities in that there were mathematical errors in adding the total number of votes received thereby inflating the number of votes received for the Respondent.
b. Corrupt practices in that there were old-aged voters who were turned away for failure to locate their names despite the fact that no assistance was given to them. Again, during the counting times, polling agents representing the applicant’s political party at some points were chased away from the polling room while respondent’s agents remained.
The accompanying Affidavit/s and documents, together with evidence to be adduced at the trial hereof, will be used in support of this Petition.
Political analysts suggest that ZANU PF’s actions aim to secure a two-thirds majority, a goal they narrowly missed by four MPs. Winning the Gutu West by-election, postponed due to the death of Christopher Mutonhori Rwodzi, could help close the gap. Rwodzi, a former Zimbabwe National Army officer and politician, ran as an independent candidate after ZANU PF denied his participation. He was a Zimbabwean politician and retired Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) officer and was married to the Minister of Tourism And Hospitality Industry, Barbara Rwodzi. Securing a two-thirds majority is significant as it enables ZANU PF to amend the constitution without resistance from the CCC.