MDC Alliance ready to challenge 'rigged' election in court

08 August 2018 - 15:02 By Ray Ndlovu In Harare
Movement For Democratic Change supporters arrested last week for violent protests arrive for bail application at the Harare Magistrates courts in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 7,2018.
Movement For Democratic Change supporters arrested last week for violent protests arrive for bail application at the Harare Magistrates courts in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 7,2018.
Image: REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

The MDC Alliance said on Wednesday that it was ready to file court papers challenging the outcome of the presidential election results in Zimbabwe.

The court challenge may scupper the inauguration ceremony for president-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa‚ set to take place on Sunday.

The foreign affairs ministry announced on Tuesday that the inauguration ceremony would take place on Sunday.

The alliance said it would be represented by “a team of local‚ regional and international lawyers”.

Mnangagwa was declared the winner of the presidential election by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission‚ after garnering 50.8% of the votes. His rival‚ Nelson Chamisa of the MDC Alliance‚ got 44.3% of the votes.

Chamisa has refused to accept the results of the election on July 30. Chamisa said he had overwhelming evidence of the election having been rigged in favour of Mnangagwa.

Thabani Mpofu‚ the legal representative for Chamisa‚ told a media briefing in Harare on Wednesday that the alliance had a legal team drawn from local‚ regional and international lawyers who were working on the case.

“The evidence is going to embarrass a lot of people‚ you are going to see it on the court papers‚” he said.

“In court we normally say the evidence is overwhelming‚ but this is more than that; it’s embarrassing and we have the evidence and we also have a secret weapon that we are going to unleash.”

Several MDC Alliance leaders have claimed that their lives were in danger‚ with security authorities keen to question them for allegedly inciting MDC Alliance supporters to demonstrate last week. The protests led to the army firing live bullets and killing people.

On Wednesday morning reports emerged saying that Zimbabwean opposition leader Tendai Biti had been arrested by police — while attempting to seek political asylum in Zambia.

His lawyer‚ Nqobizitha Mlilio‚ said that Biti was arrested “on Zambian soil” at the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Police authorities‚ however‚ said they were not aware of Biti’s arrest.

An affidavit from Mlilo‚ showed that authorities had been keen since violence broke out last week in central Harare to question Biti for “unofficially and unlawfully” declaring Chamisa the duly elected president of Zimbabwe.

The announcement of the winner of the presidential contest is the preserve of the electoral commission under the country’s electoral laws.

Exiled former cabinet minister Jonathan Moyo took to Twitter on Wednesday to say that Biti had in fact not been arrested‚ but was allowed safe passage into Zambia and was on his way to Lusaka.

“While the junta and its running dogs are gloating over reports of the arrest of Tendai Biti at the Chirundu Zimbabwe/Zambia border‚ the good news is that he is safe and now on his way to Lusaka where he will be afforded an urgent asylum hearing in accordance with international law‚” Moyo said on his official Twitter account.

Another source close to Zambian authorities confirmed that Biti was in Zambia‚ “on the way to Lusaka and could be given political asylum”. 

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