IN SHORT: Nomination papers for “double candidates” from Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, the Citizens’ Coalition for Change, have been found legitimate by the country’s high court. Calling them “bogus” is therefore misleading.
A Facebook post by Zimbabwean online media house the News Hawks claims that candidates accused by the opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) of fraudulently submitting nomination court papers are “bogus” or fake. A photo of Freddy Masarirevhu accompanies the post.
Masarirevhu is the CCC’s national assembly candidate for for St Mary’s in Chitungwiza, a town about 25 kilometres south of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare. The CCC is the main opposition party in Zimbabwe, challenging the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front, or Zanu-PF, who have been in power since 1980.
The post says these candidates are “masquerading as bona fide party nominees” and “have persisted with campaigns ahead of the 23 August general elections.”
It links to an article published on the News Hawks website on 28 July.
CCC took matter to electoral court
The CCC had 41 candidates who were accepted by the nomination court but rejected by the party as not being the official candidates. The party alleged that some of the “double candidates” had been sponsored by Zanu-PF and had used fraudulent CCC signatures to submit their nomination papers. Masarirevhu was named as one such candidate.
He responded to these allegations on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, saying that he had only submitted his papers to the CCC and not to any other party or institution. (Note - the post has limited visibility.)
In a press conference on 22 June, the CCC called these candidates “fraudulent” and accused “a Zanu-PF aligned organisation, Forever Associates of Zimbabwe (FAZ), of smuggling in illegal names in order to weaken the opposition in favour of the ruling party”.
CCC national spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere later announced that the party had taken the matter to the electoral court.
“Pursuant to our press briefing on 22 June 2023, we filed objections against double candidates in terms of the procedure provided for under the Electoral Act. We have received no response from ZEC.
“Consequently, we have noted an electoral appeal to the Electoral Court under EC3/2023 against the decision of the Nomination Court to accept the nomination forms of fraudulent double candidates whose forms carried forged signatures.
“In addition, we have filed criminal complaints against all of the fraudulent candidates under RRB No. 5585161, ZRP Kopje,” read the statement.
Court case result
The case was heard by the high court on 28 July, and a judgement was handed down, declaring that the candidates were not “bogus” and should be considered as duly nominated on the CCC ticket and contest the election as such.
According to media reports, Justice Neville Wamambo ruled that there was nothing suspicious in the nomination papers submitted by the disputed candidates and that ZEC could not have verified the signatures as this could only be done by experts.
The claim that these CCC candidates are “bogus” is false. It does not reflect the ruling of the high court and has not been successfully appealed.
This report is part of a partnership between FactCheckZW and Africa Check to fact-check the 2023 Zimbabwe general election.
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