Zimbabwe court exonerates alleged election “fraudsters”

A Harare Magistrate has set free two MDC-T members, Anna Bvute and Phillip Mabika, who were arrested and charged with destroying the country’s roll of registered voters on the eve of the July 31 2013 disputed elections.

Bvute and Mabika, who acted as the MDC-T party’s chief election agent and election agent for Budiriro constituency in Harare were arrested on 30 July 2013, just a day before Zimbabweans cast their votes in the harmonized elections which the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) later proclaimed President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party as victors.

Bvute and Mabika were accused of stealing a voters’ roll from Tauyanarwo Makuza, the Budiriro constituency elections officer. The Zimbabwe Republic Police even had the audacity to convene a press conference where they issued a press statement on 31 July claiming that duo had committed the offence with the intention of discrediting ZEC and the electoral process.

However, Harare Magistrate Tendai Mahwe on Friday 20 September 2013 acquitted the MDC-T election agents after ruling that State prosecutors had failed to establish a prima facie case against the duo. The acquittal of Bvute and Mabika came after their lawyer Charles Kwaramba of Mbidzo, Muchadehama and Makoni Legal Practitioners applied for discharge at the close of the State’s case on the basis that the State had failed to prove that the election agents had committed an offence during the first stage of their trial.

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