MDC legislator acquitted

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

A HARARE court yesterday acquitted Mt Pleasant legislator, Samuel Banda (MDC Alliance), who was accused of contravening a section of the Electoral Act by falsifying his home address for the purpose of registration to represent the constituency.

Banda (43), who was represented by Job Sikhala, was acquitted by magistrate Learnmore Mapiye after a full trial.

In acquitting Banda, Mapiye ruled that the whole case was as a result of sour grapes and bitterness by two people who lost elections to the MP.

During the defence case, the court heard that there were 14 other people who registered the residence as their home and Mapiye ruled that the owner of the house, Isaac Chidavaenzi, who was the witness, actually had a case to answer on why 14 people used his house to register for voting.

The magistrate further ruled that all the 14 people could not have registered at his house without his knowledge.

Sikhala had told the court that the matter was purely a fight between the MDC-T, led by Thokozani Khupe, and the other MDC led by Nelson Chamisa.

The magistrate ruled it was regrettable that factional fights had found their way into the courts.

Banda had told the court that the complainants, Warship Dumba and Chidavaenzi, wanted to settle their scores against him as they wanted his position.

Chidavaenzi lost the position to Banda in the parliamentary elections, while Dumba wanted the position, but was relegated to council elections.

After the ruling, Sikhala said it was the most difficult case he had come across, whose inspiration and foundation was bitterness.

“Dealing with bitter losers is the most difficult pre-occupation. However, I was so patient and took the two bitter men (Dumba and Chidavaenzi) on their journey of bitterness and sour grapes,” Sikhala said.

Allegations are that on December 28 last year, during the national biometric voter registration exercise, Banda misrepresented to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission that he was residing at number 34 Waller Avenue in Mt Pleasant, Harare, in order for him to register as a voter in that constituency while in actual fact, he did not reside there.

Peter Kachirika appeared for the State.

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