Own Correspondent|The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has all but conceded with MDC Deputy Chairman Tendai Biti that he did not announce the 2018 election results unlawfully before the electoral body made the announcement.
In an official Facebook posting ZEC Commissioner Qhubani Moyo all but cleared Biti when he said that people in the country are not aware of the fact that ZEC announces election results at polling stations as soon as counting is completed.
“What many people don’t know is that ZEC announces results at polling stations soon after closing and counting concluded. In most cases within 5hours most polling stations will have declared their results & posted them outside. It is very easy for political parties with a strong presence of polling agents to know their performance trend by morning after election day,” said Commissioner Moyo.
“Ignorance of our processes is the biggest problems of perception. It’s very unfortunate that even some senior leaders of political parties also don’t know our own electoral processes and they have become sources of misinformation,” Moyo added.
Biti was recently fined $200 by the courts allegedly for announcing election results without authority and before ZEC made the announcement.
He was being accused of unlawfully announcing results of the highly disputed election when the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) was still to give the official outcome.
Biti was facing two counts of contravening the Electoral Act and was convicted for both offences.
He said he did not announce the results, but simply interpreted what the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission had officially posted outside its polling stations.
“In a normal election run by a normal elections commission, Advocate Nelson Chamisa would be the President right now. In my statement to the media, I said Chamisa won the elections in Manicaland, Harare, Matabeleland, Masvingo and Bulawayo and Zec did not dispute that in court, except in Mashonaland West province, where the results were not posted outside the polling station,” Biti told court.
Magistrate Takundwa ruled that the state proved its case beyond reasonable doubt that Biti indeed committed the offences.
“They presented his announcement as authentic and his actions had potential to undermine the official announcement by ZEC,” she said.
In passing sentence, Takundwa treated both counts as one.
Biti was fined $200 or 7 days imprisonment for the first count while in the second count, six months were wholly suspended on condition of good behaviour.