Mutasa council challenges MDC-A councillor bid to stop elections

MUTARE – THE Mutasa Rural District Council which was cited as a second respondent has challenged the MDC Alliance Mutare Central ward 10 councillor Frank Chitembwe’s urgent High Court application against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to stop the Mutasa Rural District Council by-election  slated for May 11.

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.

The Mutare High Court judge Justice Isaac Muzenda on Wednesday told a circuit that Mutasa Rural District Council through its chairperson Tonderai Bandure in the application wanted to oppose it.

The matter was postponed to April 24.

Through his lawyer – Chris Ndlovu of  Ndlovu and Gonese legal practitioners – Chitembwe cited (ZEC) chairperson Priscilla Chigumba as the first respondent while Mutasa Rural District Council chairperson Tonderai Bandure was cited at the second respondent. 

Ndlovu confirmed the new development.

Said Ndlovu:

“High Court today (Wednesday) Through Judge Muzenda postponed the matter to 24 April claiming that Mutare Rural District chairperson was preparing his papers to oppose the application.”

Aspiring candidates Tanyaradzwa Rose Mukodza (MDC) Justice Chirimo (NCA) and Magret Tindika (Zanu PF) were cited as third, fourth and fifth respondents.

In his application at the High Court on Friday, 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.

Said Ndlovu: “High Court today (Wednesday) Through Judge Muzenda postponed the matter to 24 April claiming that Mutare Rural District chairperson was preparing his papers to oppose the application.”

Aspiring candidates Tanyaradzwa Rose Mukodza (MDC) Justice Chirimo (NCA) and Magret Tindika (Zanu PF) were cited as third, fourth and fifth respondents.

In his application at the High Court on Friday 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.

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