High Court nullifies Chinhoyi Ward 4 independent councillor’s election victory |

By James Muonwa l Mashonaland West Correspondent

THE High Court sitting at Chinhoyi has overturned the victory of Archibald Muzanenhamo, who was declared winner in Chinhoyi Ward 4 during the August 23 and 24 harmonised elections.

Muzanenhamo, also known as Nyazamba, stood as an independent candidate in protest over the shambolic candidate selection process in the Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) party, of which he was a member.

The youthful politician went on to annihilate then immediate past Ward 4 councillor, Ignatius Zvigadza of Zanu PF in a surprise triumph that shocked the local body politick. He became the only independent councillor in Chinhoyi Municipality.

In an unprecedented move, Zvigadza launched a court challenge arguing Muzanenhamo engaged in vote buying and mobilised supporters at his business premises located within a 300-metre radius from a polling station in clear violation of the Electoral Act.

Zanu PF’s Ignatius Zvigadza

In his notice of opposition papers filed at the High Court, Muzanenhamo denied ever buying prospective voters soft drinks and alcohol at his shop or liquor store.

“The announced results represent the true will of the electorate as there were no such alleged irregularities as alleged by the petitioner.

“There was no vote buying as alleged, at no point did l canvas for votes on election day, either 300 metres of Chengetanayi Old People’s Home polling station or outside the said 300 metres,” Muzanenhamo submitted.

He disputed that his grocery shop was open solely to distribute soft drinks and beer to prospective voters.

“I opened the shop as usual for the purposes of selling groceries to customers. The same applies to the bottle store which l opened. I never distributed soft drinks and beer to voters as alleged.

“The petitioner must, at least, provide the full names of the alleged persons whose votes l allegedly bought. He must also provide supporting evidence from such persons confirming that indeed l bought their votes.

“He must provide evidence that the persons who came to my shop on the election days are indeed registered voters; more importantly for Ward 4 Chinhoyi and that they voted on the material dates.”

Chinhoyi High Court Judge Philda Muzofa ruled that there be a fresh poll to choose a ward representative as the evidence pointed to electoral malpractices.

Resultantly, a by-election looms in the swing ward that perennially shifts allegiance between Zanu PF and the opposition, depending on the quality of candidates.

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