Zanu PF’s Raj Modi candidacy challenged; applicant says deputy minister’s late nomination ‘unlawful’

By Staff Reporter

DEPUTY Industry minister, Rajesh Modi who is vying for the National Assembly seat in the upcoming general elections had his nomination challenged for having filed his papers late.

 A registered voter, Raymond Dudzayi Gombedza has filed an urgent chamber application at the Bulawayo High Court arguing that Modi should be removed from the ballot as his acceptance was contrary to the laws.

Gombedza said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)  nomination officer at Tredgold Magistrates Court, Innocent Ncube had no power to sanction a departure from such mandatory statutory stipulations.

“Such conduct was not only unlawful and illegal, but it further encroached on the exclusive constitutional mandate of the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe regarding the proclamation of nomination dates.

“The 1st  respondent (Ncube) certainly could not ignore procedure and arbitrarily extend deadlines, as he did, in order to assist and accommodate candidates, including the 3rd Respondent (Modi).”

He said the principles of justice, legality, and fair play thereby render the intervention of the High Court.

In his founding affidavit, the applicant said Modi submitted his papers past the 4pm deadline.

This follows the disqualification of 12 Citizens Coalition for Change aspiring Bulawayo MPs over the same reasons.

Gombedza said when the nomination court sat on June 21, Modi’s papers were in disarray.

He said Modi was turned away and was nowhere near the nomination court by 4 pm.

He also said the court sat the following day only to accommodate Modi in contravention of the Electoral Act.

“Instead, frantic and last-minute efforts were being made by Modi to comply with the requirements of procedure at law,” he said.

“In these capacities, I have an undeniable interest in all persons seeking to represent me, and the legality of their nomination.

“I cannot, in earnest, turn a blind eye to unlawful nominations with the capacity of giving rise to unlawful elections.

“The issues concerned herein are therefore in no way abstract, academic, or hypothetical – whether in respect of me or the general voting populace.

“I accordingly aver that I have a direct and substantial interest in the subject matter of the suit which could be prejudicially affected by the judgment of the Court,” he submitted.

“I submit that the above mentioned disregard of peremptory provisions contained in the Electoral Act was fatal to the validity of the proceedings by the 1 respondent.”

The matter is yet to be heard.

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