Massive fraud mars polling

HARARE - Zimbabwe's main opposition has said it has no legal recourse to file a petition challenging Zanu (PF)'s controversial victory in weekend by-elections because the Supreme Court has declared the Electoral Court unconstitutional.
The main faction of the Movement fo

r Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai, which lost Saturday’s widely condemned Rushinga and Chikomba Parliamentary by-elections, has accused President Mugabe’s ruling Zanu (PF) party of stealing the victory. The MDC claims it has “shocking” evidence of fraud and is demanding fresh elections.
In Chikomba, Zanu (PF)’s Stephen Chiurayi polled 11,247 votes, beating the MDC’s Amos Jiri who garnered 4,243 votes. Zanu (PF)’s Lazarus Dokora also won the Rushinga by-election with 13,642 votes against 1,801 votes clinched by MDC candidate Kudakwashe Chideya.
MDC Information secretary Nelson Chamisa told The Zimbabwean that his party is being denied its right to file papers protesting the results in terms of the Electoral Act, which gives the party 30 days after the vote to lodge an appeal.
“We have an overwhelmingly strong case. We have uncovered mountains of hardcore and powerful evidence of electoral fraud, which includes ballot stuffing in the resettlement areas of Rushinga and Chikomba,” Chamisa said. “If the evidence we have gathered is presented to an independent and impartial court, I have no doubt in my mind that it would undoubtedly result in Zanu (PF)’s stolen electoral victory being set aside,” he said.
Independent observers said there were flaws in the by-elections and that the vote was marked by “numerous and profound irregularities.”
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), which fielded 41 accredited observers for both the Chikomba and Rushinga poll, said MDC and UPP party agents were barred from the Maname Polling Station in Rushinga despite having the necessary documentation from Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the required police clearance.
“By lunchtime these agents had still not received clearance from the ZEC officials at the Constituency Command Centre in Rushinga,” ZESN said in a preliminary election report. “ZESN is also concerned that one of its observers was not allowed to observe counting at Wiltshire HQ Clinic. ZESN observers noted that most people were turned away because they did not appear on the voters’ roll.”

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