HARARE – Former Harare mayor Herbert Gomba was freed on bail Thursday following his arrest on Monday accused of supplying false information when registering as a voter.
The 45-year-old was arrested on Monday and charged with perjury and breaches of the electoral law.
Harare magistrate Stanford Mambanje, after reserving judgement on Gomba’s bail application on Wednesday, set bail at Z$50,000 for the former ward 27 councillor.
On the first of the charges, prosecutors say Gomba registered as a voter at Ruvheneko Primary School in Glen Norah in 2017 by providing an address where he was not ordinarily resident.
His lawyers say the address is his parents’ house, and insist that Gomba lived there at the time and only moved out in 2018. He moved to another house also in Glen Norah and his polling station did not change.
On the second count, the prosecution says between October and December 31, 2017, another 22 individuals submitted affidavits while registering as voters also listing the same residential address as Gomba. Nine of the registrants share a surname with Gomba.
The National Prosecuting Authority alleges that the 22 were not residents at the stated house consisting of four rooms, including two bedrooms and a combined kitchen, dining room, and lounge.
“The accused person, being the direct beneficiary of the registration of the 22 persons, caused through his relationship with the 22 involved in this case to fraudulently purport that they are residents of Harare municipality ward 27,” the prosecution charges.
The defence argues that Gomba is not responsible for individuals using an address that is not his to register as voters.
Defence lawyers say the charges are a conspiracy to disrupt Gomba’s campaign ahead of by-elections on March 26. Gomba will represent the Citizens Coalition for Change in ward 27, a seat he won comfortably in 2018 before his controversial recall by the MDC-T party.