CCC blasts ‘premature’ ZEC declaration of Zanu PF candidates as poll winners

Party vows to appeal High Court ban on February 3 by-election candidates

By Tapiwa Svondo

Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) has hit out at ZEC Chief Elections Officer Utoile Silaigwana for rushing to declare Zanu PF candidates as winners of five council wards in Harare and Chiredzi even when it was still within the opposition’s legal rights to appeal a court ban imposed on party candidates.

In a notice, Silaigwana named as automatic winners, five Zanu PF politicians who had filed for nomination to contest the February 3 by-elections in 2 Harare wards, 2 in Chiredzi and 1 in Manyame RDC.

The High Court recently imposed a blanket ban on 23 CCC parliamentary and council candidates from taking part in the poll after self-styled interim party secretary general Sengezo Tshabangu had filed a challenge claiming the candidates could not legally contest the poll under the banner of a party that recalled them.

In a statement on Tuesday, CCC spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi asserted the ZEC boss jumped the gun arguing the affected candidates were still well within stipulated timelines to lodge an appeal with the Supreme Court.

Mkwananzi said claims that CCC candidates are barred from the poll basing on the High Court ruling were “false, inaccurate, misleading and premature”.

“We are still well within the stipulated timeline to lodge our appeal with the Supreme Court as provided for by the law,” Mkwananzi said.

“We are going to lodge the appeal within the stipulated timeframe and our candidates, voters, supporters and members of the public are advised to forge on with their campaigns and preparations as planned and scheduled.”

He added, “We urge the Zimbabwe Election Commission to endeavour acquit itself with the highest level of professionalism, independence and objectivity.

“We do not expect the electoral management body to recklessly jump-the-gun in matters of such national significance as this further diminishes ZEC’s already questioned standing as credible arbiter in national electoral contestations-a point already belaboured by the opposition, civil society and all electoral observer missions that participated in the disputed August 23, 2023 general elections.”

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