HARARE – Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has opposed an application by Jameson Timba, the losing MDC Mt Pleasant House of Assembly candidate, to have ballot boxes for his constituency opened.
Timba filed an application with the Electoral Court in August this year, seeking an order for the opening of ballot boxes for Mt Pleasant, citing electoral malpractices and irregularities.
In the application, Timba cited the chief elections officer, Zec chairperson, Zec, Jason Passade and Peter Mukuchamana as respondents.
The matter came back to court yesterday after a purported consent order failed to materialise, following Zec’s denial to abide by Timba’s request.
Timba’s lawyer Trust Maanda yesterday told the court that the respondents failed to comply with High Court rules when they failed to respond to the application within the stipulated 10 days.
He said the import of that meant there was no opposition to the application and that the respondents were supposed to be barred from being heard.
He said all issues had been agreed upon, except the issue of providing an electronic voters’ roll.
Maanda said parties were supposed to address the court on the issue before a determination was to be made.
“The basis of the terms of agreement were suggested by the respondents, through their legal practitioners,” Maanda said.
He questioned who had asked the lawyers to negotiate on behalf of Zec, if they had not been given instructions by the commission to consent to the application.
Maanda said the discussion on the drafting of a consent order was made before the court and that it was a judicial proceeding.
However, High Court judge Chinembiri Bhunu said the discussion was not part of the record.
“You were discussing and I did not record anything. If you look in the record there is nothing.
“I did not take any notes,” Bhunu said, adding that he did not record any terms.
Zec lawyers Tawanda Kanengoni and Charles Nyika said the parties discussed the proposed consent, in the view that they will revert to their respective clients to get further instructions and finalise the issue.
He said a consent was not for legal practitioners but for the “substantive parties” and that there were two issues to deliberate on, which were the photocopying of the election residue and the provision of the electronic voters’ roll.
“Our client, upon perusing the proposed amended consent order, then indicated that there was a need for the secretariat and the commission to consider the feasibility of the proposed order,” Kanengoni said.
Kanengoni and Joseph Mandizha, who appeared on Passade’s behalf, moved for a motion for the upliftment of the bar, if Maanda’s submissions were to find favour with the court.
They both said Timba will not suffer any prejudice if the bar was to be lifted.
Mukuchamana did not oppose the application, claiming it was in the best interest of justice for the ballot boxes to be opened, claiming he witnessed a lot of anomalies on the election process.