By Sydney Gokomere
Gweru, August 30, 2016 – A Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) official was arraigned before the courts for allegedly canvassing for votes for an independent candidate while on duty during a ward 7 council by-election held in the Midlands capital last month.
Ephraim Hodzi (37) is said to have whispered to one voter, Chemedzai Maburo urging her to “vote for an independent candidate” in the by-election held on July 23 this year.
Hodzi was one of the polling officers vetting voters at Mambo Secondary School where Maria Dzimiri was the presiding officer.
“When Chemedzai Maburo’s turn came, she went to the accused at the door for vetting. During the process of vetting the accused whispered to Chemedzai to saying ‘vote independent, vote independent’,” the court heard.
After voting and while outside the polling station, Maburo told John Mutemera, a Zanu PF election agent what had happened.
Mutemera then approached senior ZEC officials at the polling station and Hodzi was replaced by another ZEC official before the matter was reported to Mtapa police station.
But through his lawyer, Brian Dube, Hodzi denied the allegations and maintained that Mutemera and some other Zanu PF members who were not accredited wanted to storm the polling station.
He alleged the Zanu PF members intended to fix him.
Dube indicated that he would apply for discharge arguing that his client had no case to answer.
Provincial magistrate, Pathekile Msipa said she would deliver judgment this Thursday.