The Zimbabwe Republic Police and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) security officers were yesterday grilled by MDC deputy president Morgen Komichi’s lawyer.
Komichi is facing charges of going to the podium at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) during the announcement of presidential election results and grabbing the microphone before announcing that the MDC Alliance disputed the election results.
The MDC deputy president is charged with contravening 186 of the Electoral Act which criminalises interrupting, obstructing or disturbing proceedings related to the announcement of the results.
Komichi’s lawyer, Obey Shava of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), cornered the security officers after they justified and defended an unidentified Zanu PF activist who also took to the podium at the same event but was never charged for disrupting electoral proceedings.
The Zanu PF activist was captured in a video which was tendered in court as evidence.
Dickson Siyakwimbe, a police officer, told the court that the woman rose to the podium because of Komichi’s utterances.
“She came to the podium after the accused person announced that election was not free and fair,” Siyakwimbe said.
When questioned if her rising to the podium constituted an offence, Siyakwimbe refused to answer the question.
But upon the insistence of Shava, he admitted that the activist is equally guilty.
Initially, Siyakwimbe testified that he was not inside the room when the results were being announced and never saw Komichi approach the podium.
However, during cross-examination, Siyakwimbi changed his statement and said he was actually in the room and witnessed Komichi and MDC presidential spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda approach the podium.
“I erred. I was actually in the room when Sibanda invited the accused person to the podium,” Siyakwimbe stammered.
Shava shot back: “How can you forget where you were when such an incident occurred? What benefit did you seek to derive by misleading this honourable court?”
A Zec security officer, Concrea Chivinda, also testified that he saw Komichi approach the podium but denied seeing a Zanu PF activist on stage.
When told about the video exhibited in court, Chivinda said she never saw the said woman but only heard her screams.
“Are you telling the court that you saw everything else that transpired in that room but never saw the Zanu PF activist? You and Siyakwimbe start by denying seeing the woman but when evidence is brought before you, you change your minds?” queried Shava during cross examination.
The matter was rolled over to tomorrow for continuation of trial.
Allegations are that on August 2, Komichi was at the (HICC) waiting for announcement of the 2018 poll results by Zec.
The court heard that during a break, Komichi went to the podium reserved for Zec commissioners and grabbed the microphone before announcing that MDC Alliance disputed
the election results.
It was alleged that Komichi said the results were flawed because MDC Alliance election agents were not asked to verify them.
Komichi is alleged to have interrupted the electoral process by saying: “I did not sign those results, so the results are fake. The results have just been printed and they have not been verified by the polling agents.”