Mnangagwa nemesis cleared of electoral fraud charges

HARARE – A Harare magistrate has dismissed electoral fraud charges which had been levelled against Sybeth Musengezi, a Zanu PF activist who came into the public domain when he launched a brave challenge against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s legitimacy.

Musengezi was accused of falsifying his address and his Zanu PF membership.

Allegations were that sometime in 2012, Musengezi, acting in common purpose with Allen Chisuko and Taurai Mutimbanyoka, misrepresented to Zanu PF that he stayed at No. 4315 Hatcliffe Extension, Harare for him to join as a member of the ruling party’s Muzinda 1A District.

The court ruled in favour of Musengezi’s argument that the state erred by considering speculative evidence and failing to consider relevant factors.

“The state has failed to make out even a prima facie case that there was any misrepresentation made by the accused. Thus, at least one of the essential elements for the crime of fraud is missing,” the court ruled.

“There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that the accused provided the information about his address to Zanu PF.

“None of the State witnesses were present when the alleged misrepresentation took place and none of them even stated to whom the alleged misrepresentation was made.”

The court found the state evidence insufficient to sustain trial.

Musengezi’s legal woes followed his challenge against Mnangagwa’s legitimacy in what was viewed as a manifestation of factional infighting within Zanu PF.

Added the court, “The State’s case rests entirely on the Zanu PF cell and branch sheets and on an assumption, which is not backed by any evidence whatsoever, that it must have been the accused who provided the information contained therein.

“However, that assumption is contradicted by the evidence before the court.”

The court also ruled that the state’s case was based on a Zanu PF cell and branch sheet collected in a haphazard manner.

“None of the state witnesses could give first hand evidence about how any of the information contained in the Zanu PF cell and branch sheets had been collected as none were present.

“Therefore, none of the State witnesses could dispute the defence’s contention that the Zanu PF cell and branch sheet information is collected in a chaotic and haphazard manner, whereby information is routinely collected about people not in the presence.

“Even more catastrophically for the state’s case, the Zanu PF cell and branch sheets were proven be full of errors relating to other members,” read parts of the ruling.

The court also trashed the investigating officer’s evidence.

“The State further called Panganai Gwati, a police officer who investigated the matter. This witness stated that he was the investigating officer of the case.

“He conceded that there were a lot of discrepancies in the cell sheet/registers presented to him.

“He conceded that, from the face of it, the evidence presented to court is unreliable as it clearly shows that the capturing of information on records was suspicious.

“He (Gwati) conceded that the investigation carried out by him was improper and inconclusive.

“Thus, an essential element of the offence was not proven, even on a prima facie basis, and therefore acquittal must follow.”

The post Mnangagwa nemesis cleared of electoral fraud charges appeared first on Zimbabwe News Now.

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