‘Zec wants to cover-up fraud’

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HARARE – Morgen Komichi, the MDC chief elections officer, alleged yesterday Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) officials crafted an offence leading to his arrest.

Komichi was arrested in July, accused of fraud and contravening the Electoral Act.

This was after he presented to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), a ballot paper that was allegedly picked from a dustbin at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC), the electoral body’s command centre.

Komichi told the court during cross examination by prosecutor Michael Mugabe that when a meeting was convened to present the ballot paper envelopes issue, Zec  hatched a plan to get him arrested.

“Zec hatched a plan to implicate me in a crime I did not commit.

“When I got to the meeting they started going through Electoral Act documents and internet looking for an offence they would label against me,” he said.

“They found a section where being in possession of open ballot paper was an offence and connived to get me arrested. They knew that since I was alone against their numbers it would be my word against them even if the matter was to be heard in court.”

Mugabe questioned Komichi’s delay in alerting Zec about the issue and said the latter was “scheming to discredit Zec and the elections”.

“I received the papers on July 23 and managed to address the issue with Zec on July 25 because I had other urgent matters to attend in Mutare,” Komichi shot back.

“I also didn’t want the matter discussed on the phone because it was crucial.

“Besides it would not have helped us as a party to do anything malicious. Everything that I did was in good faith.”

Komichi said he was surprised when a meeting was later convened to discuss the issue after top government officials were called in.

“When I was called for a meeting I was surprised to see Makarau in the company of commissioner Gambe, Sekeramayi, Mutemasango, Chidhakuza and many others,” he said.

His lawyer Alec Muchadehama claims Zec failed to handle the July election process, resulting in some ballot papers going missing.

Allegations are that on July 25 at HICC, Komichi approached Tendayi Pamire asking to have an audience with Zec chairperson Rita Makarau after a ballot envelope was found in a rubbish bin outside the command centre.

The State alleges that Komichi accused Zec of destroying ballot papers of members of the uniformed forces who voted for the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC.

According to State papers, the envelope belonged to Constable Mugove Chiginya, a police officer supposed to have voted for the MDC in the Southerton constituency.

The court heard Chiginya, however, failed to vote during the special voting period.

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