via 90 special ballots went missing: Lawyer – DailyNews Live by Tendai Kamhungira
MDC chief election officer Morgen Komichi’s lawyer, Alec Muchadehama, has said that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) gave people ballot papers on the streets, while 90 other envelopes went missing.
Komichi is accused of fraud and contravening the Electoral Act.
He was arrested after he allegedly presented to Zec, a ballot paper that had been found in a dustbin at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC), the electoral body’s command centre.
He denies the charges.
Muchadehama said: “I put it to you that Zec was just giving these papers to anyone even in the streets to vote.
“My instructions are that at the place where the ballots were being sorted out, there were 300 people.”
Muchadehama was cross-examining Zec deputy chief election officer Utoile Silaigwana.
He further said according to instructions from his client, about 90 envelopes could not be accounted for during a reconciliation process.
He said this suggests that the envelopes were being thrown away by those that were sorting out the papers, arguing that the envelope that was given to Komichi could have been part of the 90 that disappeared.
Muchadehama said Zec appeared to be panicking when Komichi brought the envelope, “that they had thrown away”.
“Are you aware that 90 envelopes disappeared, another 60 emerged from nowhere?” Muchadehama asked.
However, Silaigwana denied all the allegations levelled against Zec and said the election process was properly held.
He said he was not aware of such reports. Silaigwana said Komichi had admitted to opening the ballot papers, thereby contravening the Electoral Act.
Under cross-examination, Zec deputy director of public relations Tendai Pamire, who was the second State witness, said Komichi opened an envelope containing Mugove Chiginya’s ballot papers.
“I started knowing the accused in 2008 and interacted on a frequent basis with him. He indicated he opened the envelope out of curiosity and according to law they are supposed to be opened by the voter,” Pamire said.
Asked if there was anything amiss on Komichi coming to Zec with the envelope containing ballot papers, Pamire said, “I did not see anything amiss on him coming to the commission with the issue since he did present many issues during the national multi-party liaison committee meetings.”
He said Komichi did not disclose the person who picked up the ballot papers.
Harare magistrate Tendai Mahwe postponed the trial to next Monday.