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Zimbabwe: Zanu-PF, MDC-T file 105 petitions
Posted: Thursday, May 8, 2008

Court Reporter
The Herald

ZANU-PF and MDC-T have filed a total of 105 election petitions, prompting Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku to appoint 17 more High Court judges to the Electoral Court to preside over the cases.

Zanu-PF is challenging results in 53 constituencies while MDC-T is contesting those in 52 constituencies.

The appointments, made in terms of Section 162 of the Electoral Act, bring to 20 the number of judges who will handle the election disputes.

Three judges – Justices Tendayi Uchena, Antonia Guvava and Nicholas Ndou – were appointed to the Electoral Court early this year.

In a letter dated April 29, 2008 and copied to Judge President Rita Makarau and Master of the High Court Mr Charles Nyatanga, the Chief Justice said the appointments were made in terms of the country's electoral laws.

The appointments were also made in consultation with the Judicial Service Commission and Justice Makarau in her capacity as the Judge President and would be effective from April 29, 2008 to April 29 2009.

Justice Makarau would also preside over some of the petitions.

Mr Nyatanga confirmed the latest development saying the Judge President had scheduled a meeting with lawyers handling the petitions for 10am this Friday at the High Court.

"All the lawyers who are dealing with election petitions (are invited) to attend the meeting where the procedure would be discussed with the Judge President chairing.

"The JP (Judge President) is going to issue a practice directive on the procedures to be followed in dealing with the petitions," he said.

Mr Nyatanga said his office had received 105 petitions, which have to be determined within six months in terms of the Electoral Act.

He said both parties filed more or less an equal number of petitions challenging results of the concerned constituencies countrywide.

In its petitions, Zanu-PF will, among other issues, contend that MDC-T bribed election officials while the opposition party will argue that Zanu-PF candidates and its supporters bought votes and interfered with the voting process.

In the synchronised presidential, parliamentary and council elections the opposition MDC-T won 99 seats against Zanu-PF's 97. The MDC got 10 seats.

Zanu-PF won the Senate while no absolute winner emerged in the presidential election, which now requires a run-off between President Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai.

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