Zec of­fi­cer ar­rested

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Feature/national News - Wayne Zanamwe

A ZIM­BABWE Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (Zec) of­fi­cer has been ar­rested for al­legedly can­vass­ing votes for an in­de­pen­dent can­di­date dur­ing a coun­cil by-elec­tion held in Gweru last month.

Ephraim Hodzi (37) ap­peared be­fore Mid­lands Pro­vin­cial mag­is­trate Mrs Phathek­ile Msipa fac­ing one count of can­vass­ing for votes.

Hodzi through his lawyer Mr Brian Dube pleaded not guilty to the charge. He is out free on bail.

Hodzi ap­plied for dis­charge at the close of the state’s case and the rul­ing would be made on Thurs­day.

Pros­e­cu­tor, Mr An­drew Ma­rimo said on July 23, Mrs Maria Dza­mira was the pre­sid­ing of­fi­cer at Mambo Sec­ondary School in Gweru dur­ing the Ward 7 poll.

“The ac­cused was one of the polling of­fi­cers who were vet­ting vot­ers at the en­trance be­fore en­ter­ing the room to cast their votes.

“On the same date there was Chemedzai Maburo in the queue wait­ing for her turn to cast her vote,” said the pros­e­cu­tor.

He said Ms Maburo went to Hodzi for vet­ting when her time to vote came.

Dur­ing that time, the court heard, Hodzi whis­pered to her say­ing, “Vote in­de­pen­dent, vote in­de­pen­dent.”

“The com­plainant didn’t re­spond at the time and went through the vot­ing process. The ac­cused them made ges­tures to her to check if she had done as per his in­struc­tion,” said Mr Ma­rimo.

He said out­side the polling sta­tion, Ms Maburo in­formed a Zanu-PF agent what had tran­spired.

The mat­ter was re­ported to the po­lice lead­ing to Hodzi’s ar­rest. Zanu-PF won the poll to claim a seat that had been in the hands of the MDC-T since 2008. The elec­tion was trig­gered by the death of Gweru deputy mayor coun­cil­lor Artwell Maty­orauta in April this year due to a heart prob­lem. Cde Stan­ford Muko­tami of Zanu-PF polled 571 votes against an in­de­pen­dent can­di­date, Mr Artwell Maty­orauta, the late deputy mayor’s son who se­cured 317 votes.

An­other in­de­pen­dent can­di­date, Mr Josh Katazo gar­nered 143 votes — @wyn­nezane

Mr Ephraim Hodzi

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