Special vote ruling today

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HARARE – High Court judge president George Chiweshe has ordered the Attorney General’s office to verify the number of police officers currently on the government payroll before he addresses a special voting impasse today.

Applicant Morgan Komichi, deputy national chairman of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC last Friday filed an application seeking to prevent a special vote by security and electoral officers, arguing figures on the police officers’ voters’ roll had been inflated.

The urgent chamber application cites Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), co-ministers of Home Affairs Theresa Makone and Kembo Mohadi, police chief Augustine Chihuri, finance minister Tendai Biti as respondents.

MDC lawyer Lewis Uriri yesterday said it was their wish to have names of police officers that participated in the special voting process struck off the roll that will be used on July 31.

“We were ready to argue, the Zec was ready to argue, but the police were not ready to argue because they had taken their instruction on the basis that there would be a consent order,” Uriri said.

“The critical aspect really, is the numbers and one of the orders that we are seeking is a declaration that the Zimbabwe Republic Police consists of not more than 44 113 officers and it’s one of the issues that have to be dealt with in respect of which the Attorney General needs to take instructions. For that reason, it was not possible to have the matter argued today (yesterday).”

He said the ruling was expected today.

Charles Nyika, Zec’s lawyer,  said the matter no longer lied with the electoral body, since the election process has already taken place but the issue was now about verification of numbers.

Komichi had argued in the court papers that the number of officers who applied to participate in the special voting exercise had been inflated.

He had asked the High Court to stop the special two-day vote, saying the 69 000 police officers who applied to vote on Sunday and Monday were way above the 44 113 officers shown on a ministry of Finance salary schedule for the whole country.

Komichi said Chihuri had refused to explain the disparities, despite MDC’s request.

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