Deputy minister Komichi arrested

HARARE – Deputy minister of Transport, Morgen Komichi, was Sunday morning arrested at his Harare home after reporting to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) that special ballots cast by security forces on July 15 had been found in a rubbish bin.

Komichi, who is also deputy national chairperson for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC, was still held at the Harare Central Police Station at the time of going to press.

Charity Charamba, the national police spokesperson, confirmed the arrest.

“Yes he has been arrested but we are going to make a press statement soon,” she said.

Nelson Chamisa, the MDC national organising secretary, said Komichi was arrested after he handed over a dumped ballot to Zec which had been retrieved from a dustbin at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC).

“The police are not in denial that the ballot paper is genuine but they want to know from our deputy chairperson the whistle blower,” Chamisa told a news conference yesterday.

“We believe that it is not Senator Komichi but Zec, which has questions to answer.  For us these developments witnessed demonstrate the integrity of Zanu PF. Zanu PF wants to undermine the will of the people.  Zanu PF knows that it is going to lose this election and that is why they are attempting to rig it.”

Zec said in a statement: “Our investigations reveal that indeed the envelope and ballot papers were allocated to a voter whose name was recorded on the tamper-proof envelope. Such voter was supposed to have voted at Mt Pleasant Hall special voting centre but he did not vote on either the 14th or 15th of July 2013.   The voter said when he presented himself to the polling officers, he was turned away as his envelope could not be located.”

Zec said Komichi had approached the chief elections officer alleging that someone had picked up a sealed tamper-proof envelope with special vote ballot papers enclosed, but refused to disclose the identity of the source.

Chamisa raised concerns over the increase in violence especially in rural areas such as Mudzi, in Mashonaland East, where he said villagers were being commandeered to Zanu PF militia bases and told to take down the last three digits of their ballot paper after casting their ballot and give it to the village head who will be waiting a few metres away from the polling station.

“However, what inspires us is that the people will vote for real change and a new Zimbabwe. Our ducks are on the row and it is game over for Zanu PF and game over for poverty and tyranny,” Chamisa said.

He called on Zimbabweans to turn out in huge numbers for the “Cross Over Rally” set for today at the so-called ‘Freedom Square’ next to the Rainbow Towers Hotel (formerly Sheraton).

The rally had earlier been banned by the police who claimed that they had no manpower but the MDC made an urgent High Court application and the courts ruled that the rally should proceed.

“We urge the people to come and hear what the new president of a new Zimbabwe has to say,” Chamisa said.

“We respect the ‘Cross Over’ rally as it is an event in our history.”

Comments (11)

If the sealed tamper-proof envelope was handed to Komichi... why did he open it? How did he know that the vote was for mdc? Which ever the way we look at it,something is not right here. Zanu is capable of stealing elections but not stupid to throw away sealed envelopes, they might be throwing away their votes as well. Give us a better explanation Shamisa

Qiniso - 28 July 2013

I agree with this,why is its that the ballot did not hve the presiding officer's mark this time MDC T is up to something. Remember there MDC T's officials at ZEC as well,Komichi shld give out all the information which he has or else he will rot in jail.Dont try the impossible guys

tsvangi - 28 July 2013

@qiniso and tsvangi. keep quiet if you don't know postal vote procedure. With Zec the custodian of all ballot papers, How on earth did an unmarked ballot find its way to Sheraton in the first place.???HOW HOW HOW.?Sheraton was a place of counting and allocation of voted ballots to respective wards only. Don't make us fools. This was rigging in the process.

Wisdom - 28 July 2013

True wisdom, All unused ballot papers should have been transported back to Zec after leaving its respective polling station and not to find its way to Sheraton as if it was a polling Station. Don't talk about the polling station seal stamp rubbish because the paper was in the wrong place in the first place and zec are the sole custodians of ballot papers. This is a big issue kwete matoto amurikuda kutaura ayo

AMurewa - 28 July 2013

Of Zimbabwe and election rigging. In 2008, Mugabe lost and to cover up the rigging they made arrests to some polling officers citing teachers were working for the mdc and sabotaging the election. To that effect election results announcement were delayed for a full month

Pardon - 28 July 2013

@qiniso. What a stupid question. Asking Komichi a politician why he is picking and opening a ballot paper in a dustbin is as silly as asking a hungry burger why he is picking a stray $100 note. Komichi instinctively and responsively opened the envelope out of curiosity But also mainly because the ''unused envelope'' was in the wrong place. How on earth did it find its way to a counting and sorting office when all unused Ballots according to Electoral law are suppose to be sealed and put away after voting. This is done at polling stations. By the way, they are not sealed together with voted ballots and are transported to 2totally different destinations.

Baiware - 28 July 2013

ZPF caught pants down this time. Verify all these votes before counting. You can't get rid of the message by killing the messenger. First person to be arrested was supposed to be Rita, then several ZEC officials.

Maunzagona - 29 July 2013

Truth be told I urge all Zimbabweans to brace themselves for the deadly aftermath as i foresee violence been unlished by Mugabe, There is no way that Mugabe will allow Tswangirai to Win, The will of People will be rigged and Mugabe will say take it or Leave it of which we wont take and then violence will erupt.

Mfana Ka sobhuku... - 29 July 2013 you think Zanu Pf are so dull as to dump a sealed ballot paper at Rainbow Towers of all places.whoever thought of this plan is a grown up baby

charles moyo - 29 July 2013

@ Qiniso & tsvangi. Where in this article is it mentioned that Senator Komichi opened the envelope? Where is it mentioned that he knew/knows they were for MDC-T? At least you can "read" but never understand what you read. Madofo.

Zvichapera Chete - 29 July 2013

@ Baiware, wisdom & Chete. You havent been following the story guys. The Daily News deliberately left the portion which states that Komichi did open the envelope and the issue is not the envelop but the contents found inside which according to Komichi were the votes for his boss. The question still remains, who in his right mind will throw away a closed envelope?

Qiniso - 29 July 2013

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