THE electoral court heard a dispute Tuesday between rival Zanu PF candidates for the Harare East constituency, one sponsored by administration secretary Ignatius Chombo and the other by commissariat chief Saviour Kasukuwere.
Terence Mukupe won the primary contest to represent Zanu PF in the constituency during elections scheduled for June 10, beating rival Mavis Gumbo. Mukupe polled 651 against Gumbo’s 369.
However, Mukupe’s nomination papers, signed by Kasukuwere, were rejected by the Nomination Court sitting in Harare on April 16. This was after Chombo advised the court that Gumbo was Zanu PF’s candidate instead.
A miffed Mukupe filed an urgent chamber application last week challenging the decision.
The case was heard before Justice Chinembiri Bhunu Tuesday with a determination expected on Wednesday.
Mukupe’s attorney Advocate Sylvester Hashiti said Saviour Kasukuwere had backed his client “under oath and pain of perjury in his affidavits and in an official capacity ought to prevail”.
“No one can unilaterally withdraw the candidature of a duly nominated candidate who prevailed in party primary elections and whose candidature has been endorsed by the party’s commissariat,” he argued.
“The court and ZEC cannot be arbiters of internal Zanu PF issues and must accordingly order the restoration of Mukupe’s candidature and await Zanu PF to then correct the misrepresentation made by Gumbo and her allies.”
For her part, Gumbo, whose nomination papers were signed by Chombo, insisted she was properly nominated adding the rejection of Mukupe’s papers was within the law.
“The nomination officer (Mrs Fiona Kurima) has absolute discretion to accept or reject a candidate’s papers if she is doubtful to his sponsorship by a political party,” she argued.