Battle for Kwekwe seat continues

Local Zanu (PF) legislator Masango Matambanadzo has vowed to challenge a high court ruling declaring the parliamentary seat vacant after losing MDC-T candidate Blessing Chebundo had lodged an appeal against the result.

Blessing Chebundo
Blessing Chebundo

Represented by lawyer Nomore Hlabano, Chebundo cited irregularities in the voters’ roll and other untoward practices, convincing High Court judge Andrew Mutema to overturn Matambanadzo’s claimed victory. The judge also ruled that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission should set a fresh date for a re-run poll.

Kwekwe had always been an MDC-T stronghold until the disputed July 31 elections. Since the formation of the MDC-T in 1999, it was the first time that Zanu (PF) “won” elections in the city.

Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa was defeated twice in 2000 and 2005 by Chebundo, forcing him to relocate to Chirumanzu-Zibagwe constituency where he later managed to “win” in 2008 and 2012. That constituency, which covers mostly resettlement areas occupied by farmers relocated during the controversial land reform exercise, was formed in 2007 after the disputed delimitation exercise.

“My lawyers Masawi and Partners are going to soon put forward our appeal against that judgment which made my victory cancelled. I never got an opportunity to defend myself on the said irregularities and so we feel its miscarriage of justice,” claimed Matambanadzo.

He also reiterated that his intention to appeal against the ruling should not imply that he senses defeat if the re-run is held. However, Chebundo dismissed any chances of Matambadzo succeeding to overturn the high court ruling.

“We cited empirical evidence about how the election was stolen. It therefore makes me confident that the decision to have another poll will never be reversed. Kwekwe belongs to MDC-T and that all we want to see being respected. The wishes of the people should be given a chance through a transparent election that we are all waiting for,” said Chebundo.

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