Opposition insists barred candidates will remain on ballot, lodges Supreme Court appeal

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By Darlington Gatsi

CITIZENS Coalition for Change (CCC) is adamant its candidates will be on the ballot for Saturday’s by-elections despite Zimbabwe Electoral Commission withdrawing its parliamentary and council hopefuls.

This is another twist to the by-election drama that the country is witnessing after the High Court Thursday ruled in favour of Sengezo Tshabangu barring opposition candidates to stand for Saturday’s election.

Consequently, ZEC announced it will be withdrawing CCC candidates that were recalled by Tshabangu from standing.

The opposition has since lodged an appeal at the Supreme Court seeking to overturn Thursday’s ruling,

CCC spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi said based on the appeal CCC’s candidates have been reinstated on the ballot.

“Our legal team has successfully served ZEC through the Chief of Elections Mr Utoile Silaigwana with our court appeal and a letter of all our legitimate candidates to be included on the ballot for tomorrow’s by-election. The statement by Silaigwana that he has removed our candidates is therefore nullified by the court appeal.

“Accordingly, by-elections are proceeding as scheduled tomorrow with all our candidates on the ballot paper,” said Mkhwananzi.

Further piling more woes on CCC, High Court Friday included Mabvuku – Tafara parliamentary candidate Munyaradzi Kufahakutizwi in its judgement resulting in Zanu PF’s Pedzai “Scott” Sakupwanya sailing through uncontested.

“While seized with senseless and unlawful by-elections, government business has collapsed and resulted in Zimbabwean citizens being denied proper representation, their right to vote and the sanctity of their vote. An opportunity to adequately debate, dissect, interpret and ensure that the national budget remains pro-poor has been lost.

“All this mis-prioritisation is happening at a time where nation is faced with unprecedented drought that will severely expose the fallacy of a bumper harvest through ill-conceived pfumvudza looting scheme leaving the majority of the citizens facing starvation.

“The August 2023 elections were rigged as confirmed by all observer mission’s damming reports, making Mnangagwa’s government illegitimate and operating on a defacto and caretaker basis pending the final resolution of the electoral dispute.

“As we grapple with finding a lasting political solution through SADC and other avenues, were urge citizens of Zimbabwe to turn out in their numbers Saturday to make an unequivocal statement through voting back their representatives as elected on the 23rd of August,” added Mkhwananzi.