By Mary Taruvinga
FORMER Harare mayor Herbert Gomba, arrested on allegations of lying to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) prior to 2018 elections, has been granted ZW$50 000 bail by Harare magistrate Stanford Mambanje.
As part of his bail conditions, the Citizens Coalition for Change official, was ordered not to interfere with state witnesses, to reside at his given address, to surrender passport and to report once every week at the nearest police station.
The state had opposed bail arguing that Gomba was likely to abscond court considering that he once gave a wrong address to ZEC and that it is not the first time, he has been taken to court facing criminal allegations.
His lawyer Harisson Nkomo defended him stating that his client has no previous convictions and has abided by his bail conditions over the past two years on different cases.
Nkomo also told court that the state was being used to block his client who is currently campaigning for a city council seat.
The state alleges that the accused participated in the harmonised elections in 2018 under MDC Alliance party and he ordinarily resides at House number 9758 Glennorah C Harare.
It is alleged that during the period prior to the election, the accused participated in a voter registration exercise as did his colleagues and opponents who were representing different political parties throughout the country.
The state alleges on an unknown date but during the year, 2017 and at Ruvheneko Primary School Glen Norah, Harare, Gomba submitted an Affidavit of Residence Voter Registration [Form VR9] in terms of the Electoral (Voter Registration) Regulations, 2017 to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [ZEC] officials in the process of voter registering himself as a voter in Harare Municipality Ward 27. The accused was a participant in the local authority elections.
It is alleged during this process of registration, Gomba submitted in his affidavit false information that he was resident at house number 5756 Muroro Crescent Glen Norah B, Harare the state alleges during the time, he was not resident at house number 5756 Muroro Glennorah B, Harare.
The residential house at number 5756 Muroro Crescent Glen Norah B, Harare consists of a four roomed building with two bedrooms, combined lounge and dining room area and a kitchen.
According to prosecutors on dates during the period 22 October 2017 to 31 December 2017, 22 people, submitted written affidavits [Form VR9] in various locations purporting to be resident at house number 5756 Muroro Glen Norah B, Harare, the same address that the accused used in his affidavit as his place of residence.
Nine of the said registered voters share the same surname, Gomba.
Court papers say Gomba being the direct beneficiary of the registration of the 22, caused through his relationship with them to fraudulently misrepresent they were residents of Harare Municipality Ward 27, Harare.
It is alleged by his conduct; Gomba caused the fraudulent registration of the said twenty-two persons and intended to manipulate the electoral process in the Local Authority election during the 2018 harmonised elections in his favour.