By Professor Matodzi
Harare, August 7, 2013 – High Court Judge Justice Hlekani Mwayera will on Thursday preside over a bail application filed by Morgan Komichi, the chief election agent for MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the just ended harmonised elections, who has been languishing in remand prison for 12 days.
Komichi, the MDC-T party’s deputy national chairperson and the outgoing Deputy Minister of Transport, Communication and Infrastructure Development was arrested on Sunday, July 28, 2013 and charged with committing fraud in contravention of Section 136 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 or alternatively for allegedly destroying or opening a pack of ballot papers without authority in contravention of Section 85 of the Electoral Act Chapter 2:13.
Although his bail appeal was supposed to have been heard on Wednesday, Justice Mwayera deferred the bail hearing to Thursday after State prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba requested for more time to file the State’s response to the bail application, which was initially set for determination on Tuesday.
Komichi’s lawyers Andrew Makoni of Mbidzo, Muchadehama and Makoni Legal Practitioners and Tarisai Mutangi of Donsa-Nkomo & Mutangi Legal Practitioners filed the bail appeal in the High Court after the MDC-T deputy chairperson was denied bail at the Harare Magistrates Court early last week.
Prosecutors allege that Komichi approached the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) on July 25, 2013 and handed the elections management body an envelope containing a stray ballot paper cast in his MDC-T party’s favour by Constable Mugove Chiginya stationed at the Zimbabwe Republic Police General Headquarters’ transport administration section to support his party’s claims that ZEC rigged the Special Voting process in Zanu PF’s favour.
However, the prosecutors charged that the State proved through examining Chiginya’s fingers using an Ultra Violet light detector that the police officer had failed to cast his vote during the chaotic Special Voting process conducted on July 14 and 15, 2013, contrary to Komichi’s testimony to ZEC.
Komichi, the prosecutors claimed committed fraud as he allegedly took, opened, destroyed or otherwise interfered with a pack of ballot papers in which he alleged were allocated to Chiginya by ZEC for use during the Special Vote.
In 2010, Komichi was arrested and charged with undermining the authority of or insulting President Mugabe after he allegedly sang a song with the lyrics: “Chimurume chagire chandifungisa dhongi rangu rakafa kare kare” which the police deduced to mean “Grace’s husband reminds me of my donkey which died long long back referring to His Excellence (sic) President Robert Gabriel Mugabe who is husband of the first Lady Comrade Grace Mugabe”.
The police alleged that Komichi sang the song when he addressed a rally at Chiwaridzo Shopping Centre in Bindura in January 2010. By uttering the alleged lyrics, the police said Komichi knew or realised that there was a real risk or possibility that the statement was false and that it could “engender feelings of hostility towards or course (sic) hatred, contempt or ridicule of the President whether in person or in respect of the President’s Office”.
The police said MDC supporters who attended the rally that Komichi allegedly addressed joined him in singing the song.
He was later removed from remand after the state failed to tender credible evidence in court to prove that he had slurred Mugabe.