OPPOSITION United African National Council president Gwinyai Henry Muzorewa has petitioned the High Court, seeking an order to compel the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to accept his nomination papers which were rejected on the nomination day for having been filed late.
Gwinyai, who is young brother of the late Zimbabwe-Rhodesia leader, Abel, said Zec had no right to reject his papers since he had explained that the delays were caused by officials at the Registrar-General’s Office (RG) who took too long to issue him with a replacement birth certificate.
He is seeking to join the 23 other presidential aspirants who successfully registered with the nomination court on June 14 to battle it out in the July 30 general elections.
Through his lawyer, Rungano Mahuni of Mahuni and Mutatu, Gwinyai claimed his papers were rejected when he arrived 15 minutes after the nomination court had closed for business.
“After gathering all the requirements on the eve of the nomination court date, I realised, after a diligent search, that I did not have my birth certificate. This did not worry me much since I knew that the office of the RG was able to issue me with a copy,” Muzorewa said.
“On June 14, 2018, which was a nomination court day, I went to the RG’s Office around 9am and applied for a new birth certificate. I told the officers that I needed the same at the nomination court on that day and I fully introduced myself to them. I was made to pay $10 and was advised that within an hour or so I would be having it. Unfortunately, this did not happen, I enquired why their process was taking unreasonably too long, but I was not given a satisfactory answer save to say they were searching for it.”
Gwinyai said when a copy was finally handed over to him at 4:10pm, he rushed to the nomination court where he found the court open and in motion at 4:15pm, but his papers were not accepted.
“They told me they could have accepted my papers, after 4pm, if I had earlier on alerted them of my challenge at the RG’s Office. I pleaded with the first respondent (chairperson of the nomination court) and argued that the delay at the RG’s Office was not only unusual, but beyond my control. This unfortunately did not change his position,” he said.
“I am of the considered view that the first respondent should have accepted my application in view of the fact that I arrived some 15 minutes late after the official closing time while the court was still in motion more so after explaining my predicament.”
The matter is yet to be set down for hearing.