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.”