Former Harare mayor re-emerges, charged with election offences

HARARE – Former Harare mayor Herbert Gomba who was reported missing over the weekend walked into a police station on Monday and was arrested on electoral law charges.

The 45-year-old was reported missing by his Citizens Coalition for Change party on Saturday after becoming unreachable on his phone just hours after police went to his house looking for him.

Police had planned to charge Gomba with arson over a 2020 incident in which a car belonging to Gilbert Mbwende, the MDC-T’s Highfield East candidate for the March 26 by-election, was torched outside his home in Belvedere.

Friends say Gomba “went off grid” to wait for Mbwende to withdraw the charges after he indicated his willingness to do so. Mbwende withdrew his complaint on Sunday, and the former mayor then went to Harare Central Police Station with his lawyer Harrison Nkomo sure the charges had fallen away.

Police had a surprise for Gomba, however, after hitting him with new charges of electoral law breaches relating to voter registration.

On the first count, police accuse Gomba of registering as a voter using a Glen Norah address where he does not live. Sources close to Gomba told ZimLive the address belongs to his parents.

On the second count, Gomba is accused of registering a further 12 voters using his parents’ address. Police charge that some of the people do not reside at the address and therefore used falsified proof of residence.

Gomba – who lives in Glen Norah at an address different from that of his parents – will fight the charges, his legal team says.

The complainant is Jephson Matewe, the Zanu PF candidate for the Ward 27 by-election who has lost to Gomba three times in a row.

The CCC says the charges are a plot to disqualify Gomba, who comfortably beat Matewe by 7,676 votes to 1,918 in the 2018 elections.

The seat fell vacant after Gomba was recalled by the MDC-T party.

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