Lack of evidence sees Zec official acquitted
A ZIMBABWE Electoral Commission (Zec) officer who was last week arrested for allegedly canvassing votes for an independent candidate during a Gweru council election has been acquitted.
Ephraim Hodzi (37), who was facing one count of canvassing for votes, was acquitted by magistrate Mrs Phathekile Msipa.
Mrs Msipa said there was no evidence proving that Hodzi canvassed for votes during the polling conducted in July.
She said the person whom Hodzi was alleged to have tried to influence did not make any formal report but the matter was brought up by Zanu-PF polling agents who were at the polling station.
Prosecutor, Mr Andrew Marimo said on July 23, Mrs 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 to cast their votes. On the same day there was Chemedzai Maburo in the queue waiting to cast her vote,” said the prosecutor.
He said Ms Maburo went to Hodzi 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 that time and went through the voting process. The accused made gestures to her to check if she had done as per instruction,” said Mr Marimo.
He said outside the polling station, Ms Maburo informed a ZANU-PF agent about what had transpired.
The matter was reported to the police leading to the Hodzi’s arrest.
Zanu-PF won the poll to claim a seat that had been in the hands of 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 polled 571 votes against the independent candidate, Mr Artwell Mutyorauta, the late deputy mayor’s son, who secured 317 votes.
Another independent candidate, Mr Josh Katazo garnered 143 votes. —@wynnezane