After spending the past 110 days in jail for allegedly tampering with a ballot paper during the July 31 national election, the MDC-T deputy national chairperson, Morgen Komichi, begins his 350 hours of community service at Mabelreign Clinic Monday following his failure Friday to have his sentence suspended pending a High Court appeal.
Magistrate Tendai Mahwe threw Komichi’s application out saying the MDC-T leader was wasting the court’s time. Komichi, who was former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s election in the July elections, was on Thursday found guilty of criminally obtaining a ballot paper which he allegedly marked, sealed and reopened in a bid to discredit the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the elections, according to the state.
Komichi, who maintains he’s innocent, told VOA he will begin his sentence Monday.
“It does not mean that I’m guilty,” said Komichi. “We are still proceeding with the appeal process in the higher courts and hope that things will turn our way.”
Komichi said his 110-day stint in jail was the worst experience of his life, adding conditions remain appalling.
“I want to thank God Almighty for sending the Holy Spirit to look after me because many people in Zanu PF wanted me dead,” said Komichi in an interview. “But I was well protected and managed to come out alive.”
Asked what he thought about the alleged lack of support from his colleagues in the MDC during his time in jail, Komichi said ‘people should know that those who are in jail need to love from those outside to survive. It is very important’.
The MDC-T’s deputy national chairperson says the justice ministry should revamp the Chikurubi Maximum Prison. He says the facility is sending people to the grace early due to appalling conditions.
“Changes need to be effected if lives are to be saved,” said Komichi. “The food is bad, the toilets don’t flush, the blankets are old and dusty resulting in people contracting all sorts of diseases, in particular TB. It is bad and people die because of this.”
Komichi was this week sentenced to 350 hours of community service after being found guilty of fraud and contravening the country’s electoral laws.