We never stopped campaigning, despite disqualification: CCC candidates

The 12 Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) parliamentary candidates in Bulawayo who were disqualified from running in the August 23 election have said they never stopped campaigning before the Supreme Court overturned their disqualification.

The candidates were disqualified by the Bulawayo High Court on July 27, 2023, which ruled that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) had illegally accepted their nomination papers since they had filed them after the deadline of 4 pm on June 21, 2023.

However, the Supreme Court overturned the High Court ruling on July 27, 2023, finding that ZEC had acted lawfully in accepting the candidates’ nomination papers.

In interviews with CITE, the CCC candidates said they were determined to continue campaigning and win the election.

“We never stopped campaigning,” said Obert Manduna, who is running for the Nketa Constituency seat. “We remained resolute and focused despite these sideshows. We are now taking this political dogfight to the ballot box now.”

Collins Bajila, a candidate for the Luveve-Emakhandeni constituency, said the Supreme Court decision gave them the confidence to continue with their campaign.

“We have no doubt that we are moving forward to win,” he said. “We never stopped campaigning.”

Pashor Raphael Sibanda, who is running for Cowdray Park Constituency against Finance Minister and Zanu PF’s Professor Mthuli Ncube, said the Supreme Court ruling was expected.

“We knew we submitted our papers on time and that’s why we never stopped campaigning,” he said. “We have always said this court case was a sideshow meant to disturb us and meant to rob the people of Bulawayo of their right to choose their leaders.”

The CCC candidates also accused the courts of being captured by Zanu PF.

“We have a lot of cases as examples,” said Sibanda. “You don’t need to be a lawyer to see such. This case on its own wasn’t even supposed to reach the Supreme Court level, it was not even supposed to reach the High Court. Where in the world have you seen someone who complains about electoral issues 30 days after electoral processes have been done…”

In response to the Supreme Court verdict, the government’s spokesperson – Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity, and Broadcasting Services – Nick Mangwana, claimed Zimbabwe had a “very professional and impartial judiciary.”

“We unfortunately also have those who believe they should never lose a case, even if the case is a dud,” he said. “When they lose they scream ‘captured.’ Same for elections. We have those who always scream, ‘rigged’ when they lose. You can’t blame the referee every time you don’t win.”

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