The Herald (Harare)

8 April 2008

Zimbabwe: ZEC Officials Arrested

Harare — FIVE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission officials have been arrested on allegations of tampering with election results and prejudicing Zanu-PF presidential candidate President Mugabe of 4 993 votes cast in four constituencies in the just-ended harmonised elections.

Police chief spokesman Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed the arrests yesterday.

One of the ZEC officials, Asst Comm Bvudzijena said, was arrested in Manicaland, two in Masvingo and another two in Mashonaland Central.

He could, however, not give details of the constituencies where the crimes were allegedly committed for fear of prejudicing ongoing investigations.

The five are being charged with either fraud or criminal abuse of duty as public officers.

"The suspects are currently being prosecuted through the courts in their respective areas.

"We are still carrying out investigations. The arrests arose from inconsistencies between figures recorded at polling centres, constituency centres and those which were forwarded to the National Command Centre," said Asst Comm Bvudzijena.

Asst Comm Bvudzijena said police were carrying out investigations in two other constituencies in Manicaland where the Zanu-PF presidential candidate was also allegedly prejudiced of 1 392 votes.

In Mashonaland Central, it is alleged, the same candidate was prejudiced of 773 votes while investigations also revealed that the same candidate lost 1 000 votes in two Matabeleland North constituencies and 1 828 votes in Masvingo.

Asst Comm Bvudzijena said police were also investigating similar cases in Zvimba North and other constituencies with a view to prosecuting officials who tampered with the figures.

The arrests come barely a week after the announcement by Zanu-PF that it would take its case to the Electoral Court contesting results in 16 House of Assembly constituencies alleging that some ZEC officials were bribed to doctor results during the counting process to prejudice the ruling party.

The anomalies were detected following a close scrutiny of V11 and V23 forms.

A V11 form is an original document carrying results at polling stations and is signed by all agents of contesting parties.

After the signing of the V11 form, information is then recorded on the V23 forms that collate polling station results within a ward.

These forms also show the results of the council elections.

The Sunday Mail reported at the weekend that at Rimbi Primary School in Manicaland Province, the V11 form showed that President Mugabe got 612 votes but the V23 form that was forwarded to the National Command Centre shows that the President received 187 votes.

This anomaly was detected in a number of constituencies.

Meanwhile, Zanu-PF legal committee member Cde Patrick Chinamasa yesterday said the party was still waiting for a response from ZEC on its request for a recount of the presidential results in some constituencies.

The ruling party's secretary for administration, Cde Didymus Mutasa, told journalists after the party's politburo meeting last Friday that some ZEC officials connived with the opposition to manipulate results in favour of the MDC.

In some case, he said, some voters were influenced to vote for the opposition.

Zanu-PF -- which garnered 97 House of Assembly seats -- lost its parliamentary majority to the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC faction, which amassed 99 seats with the Mutambara faction weighing in with 10 seats.

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