High court sets aside MDC Alliance Mutare central ward councillor polls judgement

MUTARE – THE High Court in Mutare on Wednesday set aside judgement on the MDC Alliance Mutare Central ward 10 councillor Frank Chitembwe’s urgent application against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to stop the Mutasa Rural District Council by-election slated for May 11.
The High Court will deliver judgement on a later date as it will be considering submissions by lawyers from both parties. Mutasa Rural District Council, cited as a second respondent, had challenged Chitembwe’s urgent High Court application.

The ward 10 seat was declared vacant following the incarceration of Chitembwe in February this year for public violence.
He was slapped with a two year jail term for public violence in the January 14-16 massive protests.
Chitembwe was granted bail pending appeal last week after ZEC had already sat for the nomination court early this month with three candidates successfully filing their papers.
David Tandiri representing Chitembwe said: “Today we had our arguments in the chambers and as lawyers from both parties we agreed that the judge must look at all the arguments presented.”
Johaness Zviuya representing the Mutasa Rural District Council said: “We have presented our arguments today in the chambers and the judgement regarding the case has been set aside to give time for deliberations.”
Both lawyers said they hoped that judgement will be passed before the election date.
In his application at the High Court Chitembwe said he was seeking the intervention of the court and set aside the actions of ZEC to hold the by-election on May 11.
The first respondent (ZEC) has set in motion the process of by-election in ward 10 of Mutasa Rural District council. The nomination court has considered and accepted the nominations from prospective candidates,” reads the application.
Now that l am out of custody and l am free to serve my ward and my community. I now seek the honourable court to intervene and set aside the actions of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to hold the by-election in ward 10 of Mutasa Rural District council,” said Chitembwe in the application.
In fact l dare say that at the time the second respondent Mutasa Rural District council notified ZEC of a vacancy in ward 10 Mutasa Rural District Council no such vacancy existed,” the application read.
“l had duly filed my notice of appeal and l had not been convicted of an offense involving dishonesty, breach of trust and physical violence.  Our wish is that the declaration by Zimbabwe Electoral Commission of a vacant seat for ward 10 in Mutasa Rural District
Council is hereby set aside,”
reads the application.