THE ongoing trial of former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s chief elections agent Morgan Komichi has exposed gross inadequacies within the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) and the shambolic nature of the country’s voters’ roll.
REPORT BY PHILLIP CHIDAVAENZI
It emerged during the trial yesterday that the police officer whose ballot papers were allegedly picked up from a rubbish bin at a Harare hotel was actually registered in four different constituencies and could have easily voted four times.
The trial is centred on ballot papers that were allegedly picked up from a dustbin by an unidentified person and given to Komichi before the latter submitted them to Zec. The ballot papers were supposed to be used by one Constable Mugove Chiginya during the special voting exercise conducted on July 14 and 15.
In a statement that he made to the police which was produced in court yesterday, Chiginya indicated that he was registered as a voter in Mbare constituency.
But the envelopes from which his ballots were retrieved showed that he was also registered in Southerton, Harare and Harare East.
Part of a register used at a polling station to cancel off names of police officers who would have voted, which was also produced in court, confirmed that Chiginya was registered in Southerton.
The envelope marked Mbare indicated that Mugove had voted in Ward 9, but Komichi’s lawyer Alec Muchadehama said there was no Ward 9 in Mbare. He said Ward 9 was in Harare East.
Questioned about these discrepancies during cross–examination, Zec deputy chief elections officer Utoile Silaigwana — who is a State witness — said he was unable to comment on that issue.
Muchadehama said such discrepancies proved that the special vote polls were chaotic.
“This is typical of what Zec was doing in this election, registering people in constituencies they did not reside in, sending ballots to wards that did not belong to them and having phantom voters to vote on behalf of people that would not have voted,” Muchadehama said. “I put it to you that this is more than confusion. It is chaos at its worst.”
Zec, he said, wanted Chiginya to vote in a ward in Harare East instead of in Mbare where he was registered.
Muchadehama said his client had told Zec that there were many other envelops in the same dustbin and the reason why Komichi did not disclose the person’s name was because he knew the electoral body would get that person arrested instead of investigating the case. The trial continues today.