MP trial exposes MDC squabbles

HARARE - The trial of Mt Pleasant MDC Member of Parliament Samuel Banda who is accused of giving false address to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has exposed squabbles within the party and the Thokozani Khupe-led faction.

Banda’s trial commenced on Monday, with the State calling its first witness Warship Dumba who lost the seat to Banda in last year’s elections.

Dumba is the Mt Pleasant losing candidate belonging to the Khupe faction.

When Dumba took to the stand, he told the court that he was advised through a telephone call that Banda had used Isaac Chidavaenzi’s address to register for elections.

Although Dumba admitted that he does not know where Banda resides, he said he was convinced that he does not stay at the address appearing on the voters’ role. 

“I called the owner of the house and he confirmed that Banda never resided there. Now the people of Mt Pleasant are being represented by an outsider,” Dumba told the court.

In cross examination, Banda’s lawyer Job Sikhala grilled Dumba and accused him of bitterness.

“You reported a case against the accused because you are a loser. Why didn’t you approach the courts to have the accused candidature nullified?

“You knew you were chasing a wild goose and I shall unpack your lies until we unravel who you are,” said Sikhala.

Dumba struck back and accused both Sikhala and Banda of defecting to the Chamisa-led outfit while insisting that the Khupe faction was the legitimate MDC.

The squabbles also emerged in Banda’s defence outline which was read at the commencement of trial.

In his defence outline, Banda accused Chadavaenzi of bitterness after he lost the right to represent the MDC in Mt Pleasant.

“It was after Chadavaenzi launched a blistering campaign in the constituency only for him to be disqualified by the party’s elections directorate for failure to meet the party criteria. His disqualification embittered him to the extent that he started to work with rivals and enemies of the party,” Banda said.

He also accused Dumba of conniving with Chadavaenzi to get him disqualified by lying that he never resided at the said address.

Trial was postponed to January 28 after Sikhala notified the court that he was rushing to Chitungwiza Magistrates Court where he was representing over 100 suspected protesters.

At this moment, Dumba asked magistrate Learmore Mapiye if he was going to be paid after testifying against Banda.

Mapiye advised him that all State witnesses are given allowances depending on where they come from.

Banda is accused of presenting a false residential address to the Zec.

Banda is accused of providing a false address during the biometric voter registration (BVR) exercise in December 2017.

Using the alleged false address, Banda contested for the Mt Pleasant House of Assembly seat and won.

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