Timba blames presiding officer in poll petition

The presiding officer in Mount Pleasant allowed police officers to cast their ballots after the stipulated time during last year's special vote, the losing MDC-T candidate, James Timba, today told the Electoral Court.

James Timba
James Timba

The special voting process ran from July 14-15 and was meant to allow uniformed forces who were going to be on duty during the July 31 harmonised elections to cast their votes.

Timba is contesting the results for Mt Pleasant which gave Zanu (PF's) Jason Passade 7, 920 votes against his 3, 800.

Giving his evidence before Justice Chinembiri Bhunu today, Timba alleged the special voting process was fraught with irregularities and identified the police, army and presiding officers as the chief culprits.

"In the early hours of the third day, ZUPCO buses delivered persons who were identified as police officers and contrary to the requirements of the law; the presiding officer re-opened voting and allowed such persons to vote.

"My Chief Election Agent, Warship Dumba, tendered a letter of complaint to the Presiding Officer complaining about the unlawful extension of the voting period. The letter was tendered to one Manfred Dube who was the Presiding Officer," said Timba.

He said that Dube acknowledged receipt of the letter but no action was taken.

Timba alleged that some senior police officers were allowed to vote without being cross checked in voters' roll as well and this led to riots as junior officers were complaining against the practice by their superiors.

Timba alleged that the practice of the senior police officers was against instructions from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

When his petition opened yesterday, Timba alleged that members of the Zimbabwe National Army and the Zimbabwe Republic Police were brought in from such areas as Chivi, ZRP Chikurubi, Tiviotdale Farm in Mazowe South Constituency, Norton and Umguza to vote for Zanu (PF's) Passade.

He said the development led to the disenfranchisement of a large number of Ward 17 voters.

After the special vote, the MDC-T contested the number of police officers who cast their votes, which the party claimed had been inflated.

The party claimed that the 69, 000 voters purported to have cast their votes were far above the 44, 133 shown on Treasury's payroll.

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