By Staff Reporter
MASHONALAND West Proportional Representation Member of Parliament, Josephine Shava, and six Zanu PF members go on trial June 6, 2023 facing charges of robbery of ballot papers during the party’s March primary elections.
Trial date was confirmed this Wednesday when one of the co-accused persons, Trynos Mahwebo (35) of Rimuka, Kadoma appeared at Kadoma Regional Court facing two counts of robbery as defined in section 126 of Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act chapter 9:23.
He was remanded in custody and advised to apply bail at the High Court as he was facing a third schedule offence.
Mahwebo’s accomplices are curiously out on bail following earlier court appearances and will be back in the dock on June 6 when trial kicks off.
Charges against Mahwebo emanate from two incidents that occurred at Munhumutapa Primary School and Oddoff Clinic polling stations on March 26 this year.
On the first count, complainant is Taitos Vudanhi, a security officer during Zanu PF primary elections.
State alleges on the said date around 10am, accused person teamed up with MP Shava, Emmanuel Magodo, Takudzwa Musoora, Abulative Mandaza, Goronga Murozvi, Isiah Ndhlula, and others who are still at large, and hatched a plan to rob Zanu PF party ballot papers for primary plebiscites from polling centres under Chakari constituency.
They proceeded to Munhumutapa Primary School aboard a white Toyota Hiace without registration plates.
Upon arrival the armed gang parked their car outside the school yard and five of them disembarked, went into the polling station and joined a queue pretending to be genuine voters.
Mahwebo suddenly pushed complainant, who was manning the entrance, stormed into the classroom where voting was taking place and grabbed ballot papers.
His accomplices joined the melee and took away 2 261 National Assembly, 2 161 council, 1 076 women’s quota, 1 161 senatorial and 1 493 youth quota ballot papers from tables and ran away.
Whilst fleeing they dropped 994 senatorial ballot papers and as they reached the school gate, a security guard had closed the entrance but they overpowered him and sped off in their getaway vehicle.
On the second count, complainant is Brenda Chikakaradzo, presiding officer at Oddoff Clinic polling centre.
Court heard on March 26, at around noon accused person, using a Toyota Hiace and Toyota Hilux GD6 registration number AES4851 belonging to MP Shava, being driven by Mandaza, proceeded to Oddoff Clinic polling station, Ward 14, Chakari constituency.
The gang armed with an unidentified pistol used the same modus operandi and grabbed ballot boxes containing marked senatorial papers as well as five Zanu PF cell registers.
Court further heard a fracas ensued as police officers present fought to stop Mahwebo and his co-accused from taking more ballot boxes.
Accused persons threatened to harm security details before fleeing scene.
As MP Shava’s car approached Pixie Combe shopping centre, it was intercepted by police who conducted a search and recovered Zanu PF party marked ballot papers, which included 450 written Mutsa Ziyambi, and 951 for women quota written Abigail Gava.