WASHINGTON DC —
The trial of Movement for Democratic Change’s deputy chairman, Morgen Komichi, who was arrested for picking up dumped ballot papers in Zimbabwe’s special election, appears to be exposing some alleged anomalies in the special vote conducted before the recent polls won by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF.
Komichi appeared in leg irons in court Friday before Harare magistrate, Tendai Mahwe. The court was told that the ballot papers belonging to a Harare-based policeman, Mugove Chiginya, indicate that he voted in the elections.
Under cross examination, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Deputy Chief Elections Officer, Utoile Silayigwana, could not say why the policeman’s ballot papers were not accounted for using ZEC’s normal procedures.
Chiginya was supposed to cast his vote in Harare’s Mt. Pleasant constituency on July 14 and 15. Indications are he had the potential to vote in four other polling stations including Mbare, Southerton and Harare East.
It further emerged in court that there was no voters roll but a voters register in the special voting exercise, making the process susceptible to vote rigging.
Silayigwana could not tell the court why ZEC failed to stop the chaos, saying he is not well-versed with most of the questions asked by Komichi’s lawyers.
Chiginya is based at Mbare Police Station and his ballot papers were found in a dustbin at the Harare International Conference Centre which was the ZEC command center.
Muchadehama told VOA Studio 7 the trial continues next month.
In a related development, Tsvangirai’s spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka has dismissed reports that the former prime minister is about to be evicted from the mansion he occupied while he was still in government.
Tamborinyoka said Mr. Tsvangirai has the right to occupy the Highlands mansion.
Some Zanu PF hardliners are said to be pushing for Tsvangirai’s eviction though presidential spokesman, George Charamba, has already indicated that the former prime minister needs to be treated with dignity.