HARARE – Below we publish the full statement released by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) after allegations by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC that Special Vote ballots cast in his favour were found dumped in dustbins at the elections National Command Centre:
Lost Special Vote Ballot paper: Complaint against Mr. Morgan Komichi of MDC-T.
On 25 July 2013, Mr Morgan Komichi of MDC-T approached the Chief Elections Officer of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission alleging that someone had picked up a sealed tamper-proof envelope with special vote ballot papers enclosed.
Mr Komichi handed over the envelope to the Chief Elections Officer who has since retained the envelope and its contexts.
In his narration, Mr Komichi said that the envelope had been handed over to him by a person he would not name.
The said unnamed person allegedly informed Mr Komichi that he or she had picked up the envelope from a dust bin at the HICC where the special vote was being processed.
Mr Komichi further alleged that he had been informed that this was one of several such “lost” envelopes.
The envelope was allegedly picked up in the morning of the 23rd of July 2013.
The person who allegedly picked up the envelope did not report the matter to the Commission or to the Police.
Mr Komichi could not explain why the person who picked up the ballot chose to report to him about this matter.
Mr Komichi volunteered to the meeting that the tamper-proof envelope was sealed when it was handed over to him.
On being quizzed why he then opened this envelope which he knew contained ballot papers, Mr Morgan Komichi admitted that he had opened the envelope because he was curious.
Not only did Mr Komichi open the tamper proof envelope but he proceeded to open the brown envelope containing the three ballot papers which he alleges were marked in favour of his party’s candidates.
Our investigations reveal that indeed the envelope and ballot papers were allocated to a voter whose name was recorded on the tamper-proof envelope.
Such voter was supposed to have voted at Mt Pleasant Hall special voting centre but he did not vote on either the 14th or 15th of July 2013.
The voter said when he presented himself to the polling officers, he was turned away as his envelope could not be located.
The Commission wishes to register its concerns at the manner in which Mr Komichi handled this matter.
Firstly, he took a day to bring this matter to the attention of the Commission and only did so after attaching copies of the ballot papers in his opposition to the application by the Commission in the Constitutional Court.
Secondly, we are clear that the ballots were not marked by the voter and cannot have been marked in the polling station as the ballots do not bear the secret mark of the presiding officer of the polling station.
Thirdly and more telling, if the ballots had been marked by the voter, they would not have remained sealed in the tamperproof envelope as this had to be broken open first by the presiding officer to retrieve the brown envelope in which the ballot papers were enclosed to give the voter.
The story given to us by Mr Komichi is not credible and accordingly we have severe reservations regarding the details he provided to the Commission.
We have therefore handed over the matter to the Police for investigation.
INSERTED BY THE ZIMBABWE ELECTORAL COMMISSION (ZEC) (0712878576)