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Mudede dismisses MDC allegations
The Herald (Zimbabwe)
July 20, 2005

The Registrar General, Mr Tobaiwa Mudede, has dismissed opposition MDC allegations that his office tampered with the ballot boxes of the 2002 presidential election which were delivered from Rushinga to the High Court.

The boxes contained residue ballots cast during the 2002 presidential election, whose result the MDC is contesting at the High Court.

A total 1 559 boxes had been delivered to the High Court, but seven from Rushinga constituency were missing.

"The ballot boxes for Rushinga constituency were stored in different police cells at Rushinga Police Station. Due to an administrative oversight on the part of the acting district registrar, seven ballot boxes were left behind," Mr Mudede explained.

MDC secretary for legal affairs Mr David Coltart had said in an article published in the Daily Mirror on July 14 that the seven boxes were not sealed when they were delivered.

"The ballot boxes were delivered under police escort and intact. It is felt that (Mr) Coltart is blowing things out of proportion, " Mr Mudede said.

The High Court had issued an order compelling the Registrar General to make available the ballots for use in the MDC case. The party is alleging that the election was rigged.

Its leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai lost to President Robert Mugabe by about 400 000 votes.

The residue ballots have been kept for three years following the MDC's application to the High Court for their destruction to be delayed.

Ballot papers can only be kept for a maximum of six months after an election.

Meanwhile, Mr Mudede said the issuance of new polythene and synthetic cards was continuing.

He said the exercise was ongoing in Highfield, Kuwadzana, Chitungwiza and Magaba in Harare, and Drill Hall and Nkulumane in Bulawayo.

Other issuing teams, he said, were at district registries in Gwanda, Hwange, Gweru, Masvingo, Mutare, Marondera, Bindura and Zvimba. - New Ziana.

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