Timba’s election petition referred to trial

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HARARE – The Electoral Court has referred MDC Mt Pleasant House of Assembly losing candidate Jameson Timba’s election petition to trial, after ruling that some of his complaints “make sense”.

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.

He is challenging Zanu PF candidate Jason Passade’s win.

However, Justice Chinembiri Bhunu yesterday said Timba should be given an opportunity to prove his allegations.

“The petitioner’s complains are many and manifold. Some of the complaints make sense, while others are devoid of merit to form the basis of an electoral challenge in a court of law.

“While, the bulk of the petitioner’s complaints appear vague and based on suspicion, rumour and hearsay, he is also on solid ground when he alleges that constituency boundaries were unconstitutionally altered,” Bhunu said.

He further said that the allegation “undoubtedly establishes a valid cause of action with the potential of rendering an undue return if proven.”

Bhunu ruled that the papers filed in the case so far should stand as summons and pleadings, with parties granted leave to file supplementary submissions, while minutes for a pre-trial conference were ordered to be filed by Wednesday next week.

He also dismissed Passade’s exception.

“A perusal of the petition however, shows that the erstwhile lawyers for the petitioner, Atherstone & Cook who filed the petition did a commendable job by their close attention to detail, legal provisions and rules of court.

“This has left counsel for the respondent literally scraping at the bottom of the barrel for technical objections with the result that he has had to withdraw two of the objections before argument,” Bhunu said.

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