Deputy Information minister Omphile Marupi

DEPUTY Information minister Omphile Marupi is set to retain his Gwanda South parliamentary seat after his main challenger lost a High Court bid to have him removed from the august House.

Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Gwanda South aspiring candidate, Patrick Dube, approached the court seeking an order overturning Marupi’s victory in the August 2023 polls citing a number of electoral malpractices.

Dube argued that the polls were marred by vote rigging, vote buying and intimidation of his supporters.

Dube said he was stunned to see Zanu PF branded tables within 300 metres of the polling stations on polling day.

He submitted that Zanu PF deployed activists to mount tables outside polling stations with a view of intimidating voters against voting for the CCC.

He also said some voters were being told that they would be killed if they voted for the opposition or that they would be removed from social welfare programmes.

Marupi, however, opposed the application saying the election was conducted in a fair and peaceful manner.

High Court judge Justice David Mangota ruled in favour of Marupi saying Dube failed to give a proper notice to the respondent.

The judge also said Dube filed his petition out of time.

“The rules of court never envisaged a situation where a petitioner would challenge the results of an election in an entire constituency but would, in all probability, challenge the voting process which his agents and him were able to observe as having occurred, contrary to the law  of elections, at some polling stations within a constituency,” Mangota ruled.

“For a petitioner to challenge the whole voting process which took place in a whole constituency, he would have to allege that his agent(s) and him were at every polling station observing the manner of voting by the voting public as well as the conduct of other interested persons who were at those stations.

“Short of that, the petition runs the risk of inviting the court to upset votes which were taken at polling stations which the petitioner’s agent(s) and he did not visit and/or observe on the day of voting.”

The judge said Dube also failed to comply with mandatory provisions of the Electoral Act and the Electoral Court Rules.

 “The long and short of his stated conduct is to invite me to go on a fishing expedition with him, so to speak,” he said.

“The clear message which comes out of the observed position is that the petitioner is certain of what he wants to achieve but is not sure of how he should go about to achieve it.

“He cannot be allowed to approbate and reprobate on one and the same matter as he is doing.

“The petition is, accordingly, dismissed with costs.”  — NewsDay

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