A record 100 cases filed in the electoral court over Zimbabwe’s 2023 polls

HARARE – An unprecedented 100 cases related to Zimbabwe’s harmonised elections in August were filed in court by aspiring candidates after nomination court sitting, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has said.

ZEC was taken to court over the voters roll, the delimitation exercise, and the decision to hike nomination fees.

Other reasons that spurred some litigation involved correction of the constitutional provision on provincial council party lists as well as decisions of the nomination court in rejecting or accepting nomination of prospective candidates.

In its 2023 harmonised elections report, ZEC said most of the court cases were filed after the sitting of the nomination court.

“One will be tempted to submit that Zimbabwe was becoming more and more litigious which is probably a sign that more and more people are becoming aware of their rights.

“However, such litigation was not without its drawbacks in the preparation for the conducting of the elections.

“The commission faced an unprecedented number of court challenges (more than 100 applications) arising from the outcome of the nomination courts.

“These court cases derailed its preparations and roadmap as it sought to attend to the court challenges and to meet proclaimed electoral timelines,” said the poll management authority.

ZEC said 28 candidates (3 for national assembly and 25 for local authority elections) withdrew their candidature.

It recommended that there should be pre-defined periods whereby all electoral court cases should be cleared to give authorities and the printer adequate time to print the ballots ahead of polling.

“The Electoral Act does not include time limits for the adjudication of pre-election applications filed at the nomination courts.

“For example, there is no time limit provided by the law for conclusion of appeals against nomination court decisions. This tends to impact other processes such as printing and distribution of ballots, posing logistical challenges for ZEC.

“The recommendation also refers to withdrawals by candidates; there should be a specified timeframe where candidates should not be allowed to withdraw in order to have adequate printing time,” ZEC said. — _*ZimLive*_

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