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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • High Court to hear Komichi’s freedom bid over stray ballot papers as magistrate sets Tsunga’s trial date
    Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
    August 07
    , 2013

    High Court Judge Justice Hlekani Mwayera will on Thursday 8 August 2013 hear an application filed by Morgan Komichi, the chief election agent for MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the just ended harmonised elections and the party’s deputy national chairperson, who has been detained in prison for more than one week.

    Komichi, the outgoing Deputy Minister of Transport, Communication and Infrastructure Development was arrested on Sunday 28 July 2013 and charged with committing fraud in contravention of Section 136 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 or alternatively for allegedly destroying or opening a pack of ballot papers without authority in contravention of Section 85 of the Electoral Act Chapter 2:13.

    Justice Mwayera on Wednesday 7 August 2013 deferred the bail hearing to Thursday 8 August 2013 after State prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba requested for more time to file the State’s response to the bail application, which was initially set for determination on Tuesday 6 August 2013.

    Komichi’s lawyers Andrew Makoni of Mbidzo, Muchadehama and Makoni Legal Practitioners and Dr Tarisai Mutangi of Donsa-Nkomo & Mutangi Legal Practitioners filed the bail appeal in the High Court after the MDC-T deputy chairperson was denied bail at the Harare Magistrates Court early last week.

    Prosecutors allege that Komichi approached the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) on 25 July 2013 and handed the elections management body an envelope containing a stray ballot paper cast in his MDC-T party’s favour by Constable Mugove Chiginya stationed at the Zimbabwe Republic Police General Headquarters’ transport administration section to support his party’s claims that ZEC rigged the Special Voting process in Zanu-PF’s favour.

    However, the prosecutors charged that the State proved through examining Chiginya’s fingers using an Ultra Violet light detector that the police officer had failed to cast his vote during the chaotic Special Voting process conducted on 14 and 15 July 2013, contrary to Komichi’s testimony to ZEC.

    Komichi, the prosecutors claimed committed fraud as he allegedly took, opened, destroyed or otherwise interfered with a pack of ballot papers in which he alleged were allocated to Chiginya by ZEC for use during the Special Vote.

    Meanwhile, Mutare Magistrate Charles Murove has set September 3, 2013 as the trial date for Arnold Tsunga, the MDC-T Member of Parliament-elect for Dangamvura-Chikanga constituency.

    Tsunga was arrested on 19 July 2013 together with 49 other MDC-T supporters and charged with committing criminal nuisance in contravention of Section 46 (2) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.

    The 50 MDC-T supporters were arrested while exercising their political rights to association and expression after conducting a door to door political campaign on the eve of the harmonised elections.

    State prosecutor Nelson Makunyire alleged that Tsunga and his campaign team held an “unauthorized” vehicle procession in Mutare’s Dangamvura suburb during which they sung and chanted MDC-T slogans thereby interfering with the ordinary comfort, convenience, peace or quiet of the public, a charge which they deny.

    Tinoziva Bere of Bere Brothers Legal Practitioners, Blessing Nyamaropa of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and Passmore Nyakureba on Maunga Maanda Legal Practitioners are representing the 50 MDC-T supporters.

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