WASHINGTON/HARARE — The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights), was Friday formerly charged at the Magistrates Court for allegedly conspiring to commit fraud or alternatively publishing or communicating falsehoods prejudicial to the state in relation to forged voter registration certificates.
ZimRights board treasurer Nunurai Jena appeared before magistrate Tendai Mahwe on charges of illegally registering people as voters.
In papers filed by the prosecution, ZimRights is alleged to have worked in cahoots with its national director, Okay Machisa, the organization’s chairperson of the Highfields local chapter, Dorcas Shereni, its programs officer Leo Chamahwinya, one Farai Bhani and Tatenda Chinaka, to illegally register people as voters.
They are also facing an alternative charge of publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the state as defined under the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
The state alleges that ZimRights, Machisa and others connived to produce counterfeit voter registration certificates and misrepresented that the purported registered voters had made applications to be registered as voters, thereby deceiving the Registrar-General’s Office.
It claims that there was also a risk that the alleged misrepresentation would cause havoc and maybe lead to a bloodbath in Zimbabwe if the counterfeit certificates were detected during and after general elections expected to be held sometime this year.
Meanwhile, High Court judge Hlekani Mwayera on Friday granted bail to Shereni saying the lower court misdirected itself when it initially denied her bail on the grounds that she was a flight risk.
Justice Mwayera ordered Shereni to deposit a $500 bail, to report once every week to the police and not to interfere with witnesses.
Chamahwinya, Chinaka and Bhani remain in remand prison. Chamahwinya’s bail appeal is expected to be heard Tuesday.
The accused are denying the charges saying they are trumped up.
The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, which represents close to 100 civic organizations, said non-governmental organizations are under siege as election talk gathers momentum.
Elsewhere, police Friday raided the residence of an MDC-T lawmaker in Bindura South confiscating what they said was smuggled property.
Bednock Nyaude, an officer from the Law and Order Section who was armed with a search warrant, raided the home of Bindura south legislator, and seized some 800 radios from the home.
Nyaude told VOA the 840 radios were donated by well-wishers and donors for distribution in the constituency.
But police claimed that the property had been smuggled into the country, a charge denied by Nyaude who said the radios were brought into the country legally.