The Electoral Court yesterday dismissed an election petition by MDC-T National Assembly losing candidate for Goromonzi West Mr Ian Makone while 17 others dropped their petitions.
The latest development leaves the court to deal with only 21 contestations.
MDC-T filed 39 petitions just after the harmonised election challenging the poll results in their respective constituencies countrywide but the cases are crumbling.
Mr Makone was challenging the election of Cde Beatrice Beata Nyamupinga as legislator for the constituency but Justice Chinembiri Bhunu threw out his case on the basis that he did not append a signature to his petition.
Someone signed on his behalf.
“The only person qualified to sign a petition is the petitioner himself. The intention of the legislature was to make the decision to file a petition a great personal matter to avoid situations where litigants complain that lawyers misrepresent that statements.
“The Electoral petition is therefore null and void for failure to comply with Section 168(1) (b) of the Electoral Act.
“The petition is accordingly dismissed with costs,” ruled Justice Bhunu. The court also declared Cde Nyamupinga as the legitimate winner of the election.
“The respondent Beata Nyamupinga is hereby declared duly elected member of the National Assembly for Goromonzi North Constituency,” the court ruled.
Justice Chinembiri Bhunu also ruled that the citation of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Justice Rita Makarau as a respondent in most of the petitions was wrong at law and that she was an independent official who must not be smuggled into the politics of the day.
“The chairperson of Zec is responsible for conducting elections without fear or favour. She is equated to a judge who is not expected to take sides or to be a participant in the game of politics.
“Citing the chairperson in the petitions is misplaced as it can only convert her to become a player in a match of politics. It is unjust to smuggle her into petitions as a respondent,” Justice Bhunu ruled.
However, the same court yesterday threw out an application for exception by Zanu-PF lawyers, who were seeking the dismissal of a petition by MDC-T losing candidate Mr Ushe Paradzai on a technicality.
The lawyers submitted that Mr Paradzai had delayed to serve the parties with his proof of payment of security for costs.
Justice Bhunu dismissed the exception and referred the petition to trial.