Probe team vindicates MDC claim

THE MDC team that inspected the disputed 2002 presidential poll has produced a report alleging that at least 490 000 fraudulent votes were stuffed into ballot boxes to give President Robert Mugabe his fifth term in office.

In an interview on Tuesday, the party’s form

er secretary for legal affairs, David Coltart, said: “After analysing 12 constituencies we arrived at the conclusion that 490 000 votes were fraudulently added. We submitted our report to (Morgan) Tsvangirai.”

Coltart, who lost an executive post in the opposition party after refusing to attend either faction’s congress, referred further questions to Innocent Gonese, the anti-senate’s faction secretary for legal affairs, saying he was no longer handling the matter.

On Wednesday Gonese said he could not comment as he wanted to be briefed first by the lawyers who are involved in the matter. He could also not say when the inspection would re-start following adjournment of the process indefinitely last November.

In the vote that was characterised by intimidation and violence against the opposition, Mugabe won by almost 400 000 votes after polling 1 685 212 votes against Tsvangirai’s 1 258 401 votes.

Tsvangirai described the outcome as a “daylight robbery” while Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa labelled it a well-deserved “run away victory” for Mugabe.

The inspection of the election materials started last year after Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede surrendered them at a time a contempt of court charge was hanging over him for defying several court orders to do so.
The first order had been issued in September 2002.

* Meanwhile, Gweru Rural parliamentary losing candidate Renson Gasela has complained that Justice Mafios Cheda’s delay in releasing a written judgement on his election petition has affected the hearing of his appeal in the Supreme Court.

Justice Cheda dismissed Gasela’s petition seeking to nullify the result of the election in October last year but is yet to produce a written judgement.

Correspondence by Gasela’s lawyers, Coghlan & Welsh, to the former MP says “it would appear that until the 24th March 2006 Justice Cheda was still sitting on the judgement and the court record. This explains why the record was never transcribed.”

The judgement in the case was handed down on October 15 last year and in terms of the Electoral Act an appeal must be determined within six months from the day of lodging.

“When we tried to uplift the judgement we were told that it was still being typed,” another letter dated March 17 to Cheda’s clerk said. “The writer had to request to be allowed to peruse the handwritten judgement in order to file an appeal.”

The letter says the appeal was subsequently filed in the Supreme Court and served on the Electoral Court on November 1, 2005 with a special request that the appeal record be transcribed urgently given that there are time limits within which the Supreme Court must dispose of a matter.

“We have made several efforts through the registrar’s office to uplift the judgement without success,” the letter says. — Staff Writers.