HARARE – MDC chief elections officer Morgen Komichi has been ordered to perform 350 hours community service at Marlbereign Clinic after the courts found him guilty of fraud and contravening the Electoral Act.
Harare magistrate Tendai Mahwe sentenced Komichi to 18 months imprisonment and suspended eight months on condition of good behaviour.
The other 10 months were suspended on condition he performs 350 hours community service at Marbelreign Clinic from November 11.
Komichi was arrested in July after he presented to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), a ballot paper envelope he received from Michael Phiri that had allegedly been picked up from a dustbin at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC), the electoral body’s command centre.
In passing sentence, Mahwe said Komichi failed to lead by example and had extreme moral blame worthiness because he was a public figure.
Mahwe said Komichi obtained electoral material by unlawful means and that his conduct was potentially prejudicial to Zec if he had succeeded with the misrepresentation.
In mitigation, Komichi’s lawyer Alec Muchadehama said the former’s conduct was not prejudicial to Zec and the elections.
He said the Zimbabwe Republic Police and Zec did not conduct thorough investigations and that Komichi “should not be punished for the commission’s negligence”.
“Zec itself was culpable and negligent in the manner it was keeping the ballot papers in its custody.
“He should not be punished for the negligence of Zec.
“No proper investigations were made to determine whether or not there were such papers at HICC,” Muchadehama said.
“It turns out Zec and ZRP became so overzealous and heavy-handed to descend on accused person. He cannot be punished for their omissions.”
Muchadehama said Komichi had already served jail time since he spent over three months in jail.
“Accused person was arrested on July 28, appeared in court the following day before he was subsequently posted to Chikurubi on July 30.
“It’s now about three months and seven days in custody,” said Muchadehama.
“He has already served prison time, if there is any lesson this court might wish to teach him he has already learnt it.”
The State proved that on July 25 at HICC, Komichi approached Tendayi Pamire seeking an audience with Zec chairperson Rita Makarau after a ballot envelope was found in a rubbish bin outside the command centre.
Komichi accused Zec of destroying ballot papers of members of the uniformed forces who voted for the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC.
The envelope belonged to constable Mugove Chiginya, a police officer supposed to have voted for the MDC in the Southerton Constituency.
Chiginya, however, failed to vote during the special voting period.