THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) yesterday said it could not block Nelson Chamisa and his party from using the MDC Alliance name, but a UK-based constitutional law expert has warned that Mwonzora can still legally block Chamisa using the electoral court whose ruling cannot be contested.
Alex Magaisa, who was an advisor to MDC founding president Morgan Tsvangirai, has warned that Mwonzora had options to block Chamisa from using the MDC Alliance brand.
Chamisa has been adamant that his party candidates will contest the March 26 by-elections under the MDC Alliance ticket, while Mwonzora had been threatening lawsuits if that happens.
Magaisa’s warning came in response to Zec spokesperson Joyce Laetitia Kazembe who told NewsDay that the electoral body would not interfere with disputes between political parties over names.
“We cannot block any party that would want to register with any name as long as the name brought is different from any other name that has already been registered with another political party,” Kazembe said.
Kazembe added “If there are other individuals who want to block others from using certain names which are different from theirs, we won’t entertain them.
“As long as the MDC acronym is used without making the name similar to the other names that have already been accepted as political party names, we can’t reject registration.”
Magaisa warned the Chamisa camp not to sleepwalk into a trap which could see them lose elected officials yet again.
“In the past, we have seen the nomination court accepting several names with the same acronym. The electoral law requires a party to have a distinct symbol that does not resemble that of any other party,” Magaisa said.
“What will, however, happen is, if Zec cannot block the MDC Alliance from contesting using the MDC Alliance name, the electoral court may.
“Mwonzora may challenge the use of the name at the nomination court and proceed to the electoral court, where the judgment cannot be contested. There is no appeal and Zec will abide by the court ruling and stop them from using the name.”
The nomination court for the 26 March by-elections sits next week Wednesday countrywide to accept documents from the candidates.