South Africa: Jacob Zuma wins court bid to contest upcoming election

Source: BBC 

A South African court has ruled that former President Jacob Zuma can run for office in the country’s upcoming general election, overturning an earlier decision that had barred him from contesting the polls.

The Electoral Court decision on Tuesday (9 April) allows Zuma to run for president on behalf of the uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MK), a political organisation he joined last year after denouncing the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party he once led.

The electoral commission had earlier ruled that Zuma could not run for office due to his criminal record after it received an objection against his candidature.

“The decision of the Electoral Commission… is set aside,” the court wrote in its ruling.

South Africa is to hold a general election on May 29 in what is expected to be the most competitive vote since the advent of democracy in 1994.

The MK is expected to reduce the vote share of the embattled ruling African National Congress(ANC) and Zuma’s participation could be an important factor in the vote.

In June 2021, Zuma was sentenced to 15 months in jail after refusing to testify to a panel probing financial corruption and cronyism during his presidency.

However, his lawyers successfully argued that the provision did not apply to their client.

On Monday, they told the court the sentence did not disqualify the veteran politician as it followed civil rather than criminal proceedings and was shortened by a remission.

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