MDC-T election chief arrested over stray ballot paper
by Nkosana Dlamini
POLICE in Harare have arrested MDC-T deputy national chairman and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s campaign manager, Morgan Komichi, over a stray ballot paper the deputy transport minister says he picked from a dust bin last Tuesday at a Harare hotel where the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is operating from.
MDC-T national organising secretary Nelson Chamisa told a party press briefing that Komichi was picked up from his house by detectives Sunday morning and was being held at Harare central police.
“Early this morning around 6 am, our deputy national chairman Honourable Komichi who is the deputy minister of transport was picked up at his home by the police and is actually being held at Harare central police station as we are speaking,” Chamisa said.
“We have instructed the lawyer from the Zimbabwe lawyers for human rights who has told us that the police are insisting that they want to know the whistle blower.
“What is interesting is that there is no denial of the fact that indeed it’s an authentic ballot paper and indeed that the ballot paper was found in the dust bin but of course they want to see the source of that and the whistle blower.”
Komichi says his party received the ballot paper cast in his party’s favour from an MDC-T sympathiser who picked it from a dust bin at the Harare International Conference Centre where ZEC was sorting out ballot papers cast by police officers during the chaotic special voting exercise which disenfranchised over 26,000 police officers.
The MDC-T has expressed fears a lot more ballot papers cast in the party’s favour are being plucked out of the lot by a ZEC secretariat whose ranks are allegedly massed with agents from the security services.
ZEC has since denied being responsible for any leaks and has handed the matter to police saying they were having “severe reservations” over Komichi’s account of the story.
Although confirming the particular ballot was cast in Harare’s Mount Pleasant Hall, ZEC has taken Komichi to task as to why he chose to hand over the stray ballot paper a day later and why he did not surrender it still in its sealed state.
The MDC-T insists ZEC should explain how a ballot paper can go astray when the organisation claims it is in control of the controversial electoral process.
“We believe that ZEC and not Komichi have a lot of questions to ask. If there is any investigation, the theatre of investigations is supposed to be ZEC, is supposed to be people who had the custody of these ballot papers.hey know that the people are buoyant, the people are expecting, so they want to find some kind of diversionary element through these arrests so that we don’t focus on the building of the momentum for the cross over to a Zimbabwe.
“For us the developments we have witnessed demonstrate a dent on the credibility of this election, its demo a perforation of the integrity of ZEC, it demonstrates the complicity of Zanu PF in these antics and tactics to try and undermine the will of the people.”
Up until Sunday morning, the MDC-T says it had not been given a copy of the final voters roll, who was printing ballot papers and where was this taking place.
But the party insists its huge support base throughout the country will on Wednesday overwhelm the rigging attempts by the enemy.
Police had banned Tsvangirai’s star rally, dubbed the Cross Over rally, saying they did not have enough personnel to cover the rally after the majority of its staff had already been dispatched to secure election material in the provinces.
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