Zimbabwe: jurists begin Trial Observation Mission in the Presidential Election Petition

The ICJ is participating in trial observation mission by leading jurists in hearings on the Zimbabwe Presidential election petition that started at the Constitutional Court in Harare today expected to continue over three days.

Nelson Chamisa of the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance (MDC A), the leading opposition candidate, filed the petition alleging serious irregularities in the way the presidential elections were conducted particularly by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

Among other things, he is calling for the elections to be annulled or alternatively for him to be declared the winner.

Both the ZEC and the announced winner incumbent president Emmerson Mnangagwa have filed papers opposing the petition.

The ICJ is conducting a joint trial observation with the Africa Judges’ and Jurists’ Forum in the trial observation mission.

The Mission team is composed of Retired Chief Justice Ernest Sakala (photo) who is a Zambian lawyer and retired Chief Justice of Zambia, Justice Isaac Lenaola a Kenyan lawyer and serving Justice of the Supreme Court of Kenya, since 28 October 2016, Martin Okumu Masiga a Ugandan lawyer and founder member and incumbent Secretary General of the Africa Judges’ and Jurists’ Forum and Simphiwe Sidu a lawyer in the ICJ’s Africa Programme.

The observation mission will include an assessment of the proceedings of the petition in terms of compliance with regional and international human rights law and standards on fair trial and the administration of justice applicable to Zimbabwe.

A statement will be produced at the end of the observation with views that will be made available to the authorities in Zimbabwe and the general public.


A “Question and Answer” briefing paper on the election petition in Zimbabwe is available here for more information:

Zimbabwe-Q and A elections-Advocacy-Analysis brief-2018-ENG (download in PDF)


Brian Penduka, e: brian.penduka(a)icj.org or t: +263772274307

Arnold Tsunga, e: arnold.tsunga(a)icj.org or t: +27716405926



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