Mnangagwa may interfere with poll petition, warns anti-graft lobby

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By Staff Reporter

A REGIONAL anti-graft body has expressed fears President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa may abuse his declared influence on the judiciary to obtain a favourable ruling in a case in which his MDC Alliance opponent Nelson Chamisa is challenging the former’s victory.

Chamisa Friday launched a Constitutional Court challenge which seeks to overturn Mnangagwa’s narrow victory as announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

According to ZEC, Chamisa polled 44,3 percent of the national vote while Mnangagwa romped to victory with 50,8 percent.

Chamisa is adamant the poll was fraught with irregularities skewed in favour of the incumbent.

In a statement, the Anti-Corruption of Southern Africa (ACTSA) said it was alarmed by Mnangagwa’s unsolicited claim last week he “intervened” to have MDC Alliance co-principal Tendai Biti granted bail by the courts.

This followed the former finance minister’s widely condemned surrender to Zimbabwean authorities by Zambia after a foiled attempt to seek asylum in the neighbouring country.

“ACTSA has noted with grave concern that the President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa claims to have facilitated the release of Biti on bail after his abduction from the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia,” said the group’s regional coordinator Alouis Chaumba in a statement.

“The President’s interference sends a worrying message since Section 164 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe prohibits any such interference with the judiciary.”

Chaumba also accused the president-elect of violating the country’s constitution.

“What is crystal clear is that President Mnangagwa violated the constitution by instructing the court to release Biti.

“The independence, impartiality and effectiveness of the courts are central to the rule of law and democratic governance.

“This is just a tip that he might interfere with the judiciary in the election petition which will force all of us to be worried,” he said.

Chaumba also said Mnangagwa may have interfered with the operations of ZEC in the July 30 elections whose results are being challenged.

“Now it is becoming clear that President Mnangagwa interfered with the operations of ZEC, which explains why ZEC subverted the will of the people hence the current contestations, ZEC has been captured,” he said.

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