Bornface Mudzingwa of Bikita East and Leopold Mudisi of Zvishavane-Ngezi, both candidates representing the CCC, have submitted petitions to the High Court in Masvingo challenging the election results. In these results, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commissioner (ZEC) declared them as losers to their Zanu PF opponents.
It’s worth noting that these two candidates have already paid the substantial court fees amounting to US$2,000, which many consider as discouragingly high. The court will schedule hearings for these petitions at their discretion.
According to the official results released by ZEC, Mudisi narrowly lost to Zanu PF’s Mecky Jaravaza by a margin of just 517 votes (11,607 to 12,124). Meanwhile, Mudzingwa lost to Court Zevezai by a wider margin of 2,336 votes (7,544 votes to 9,880 votes).
Of particular significance in Mudisi’s case is the existence of a video showing alleged intimidation by Jaravaza in Ward 19. Coincidentally, Mudisi received only 10 votes in the same Ward, compared to Jaravaza’s 570 votes. Mudisi seems to attribute his overall loss of 517 votes to the situation in Ward 19.
Both petitioners assert that their opponents were not legitimately elected and are seeking court orders to either invalidate the electoral process entirely or to declare themselves as the rightful winners of the election.
These two petitions are the first reported instances stemming from the 2023 harmonized elections that occurred on August 23, 2023. This represents a marked decrease in the number of petitions compared to previous years. The CCC has expressed a lack of confidence in the judiciary, accusing it of being influenced by external forces.
In both court cases, there are two respondents: the Zanu PF candidates and ZEC. Both candidates argue that the election results should be nullified due to allegations of irregularities and unfairness. They plan to present videos and other evidence in court.
In the videos, Jaravaza is alleged to have informed villagers about the voting procedures to be followed at polling stations. He reportedly stated that their names would be recorded outside polling stations, and they would be assigned numbers that would correspond to those inside the polling stations. He allegedly claimed that Zanu PF would be able to trace their votes using these numbers.
According to the petitioner, the villagers subsequently found that Jaravaza’s instructions were indeed being followed at the polling stations. Jaravaza allegedly warned the villagers not to attempt to vote for CCC, suggesting that they would be caught if they did so.
Mudzingwa alleges that his opponent, Zevezai, used various tactics such as intimidation, violence, vote buying, voter suppression, disenfranchisement, and threats to coerce villagers into voting for Zanu PF. He also claims that there were issues with the voter’s roll. Additionally, he alleges that Zanu PF violated the law by campaigning up to and on the election day, both inside and near polling stations, in contravention of election regulations.
Furthermore, Mudzingwa asserts that a shadowy organization allegedly linked to the Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) had a presence at polling stations and within 300 meters of the stations, which is prohibited by law. He identifies certain individuals as perpetrators of violence in his petition.