Two Months In Prison Sentence For Morgen Komichi
11 June 2020
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Morgan Komichi

THE High Court has upheld a conviction passed against reinstated MDC chairperson Morgen Komichi for disrupting announcement of 2018 election results after his appeal was dismissed for lack of merit.

Komichi was fined $200 or two months in prison after he was convicted of disrupting the announcement of the July 30 presidential election results in 2018.
Harare magistrate Ruramai Chitumbura also wholly suspended a three-month jail sentence for five years on condition of good behaviour.

In his appeal against the conviction, Komichi — through his lawyers then, Mbidzo, Muchadehama and Makoni — argued that the lower court had erred by reading the term “proceedings” out of context or contrary to rules of statutory interpretation.

He argued that he had not interrupted the announcement of results as he made his address during an adjournment.
However, Justice Philda Muzofa ruled that the announcement of results was a process that involved setting up of the rooms and transmission of the results.

“Simply put the appellant’s interpretation is that the proceedings should be confined to the time when Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) officials were sitting and making announcements. This approach narrows the announcement proceedings to an event and not a process,” Muzofa said.

“To our mind even an interference of the transmission of the provincial results to the HICC would constitute a disturbance in the proceedings of the announcement of results. The legislature intended to preserve the integrity of the electoral process by ensuring that they proceed smoothly to their logical conclusion.”

Muzofa noted that there was evidence that the appellant’s conduct resulted in some commotion as representatives from other political parties responded to his announcement.

“The appellant’s conduct should not be condoned, especially in view of the fact that the same Act provides for recourse that any disgruntled member could pursue to remedy any perceived irregularities. It is our considered view that the court a quo did not misdirect itself.”
Circumstances leading to Komichi’s conviction are that on August 2, 2018, he was at Harare International Conference Centre where Zec was announcing the July 30 presidential election results.

After a break, Komichi went to the podium reserved for commissioners announcing the results, took the microphone and announced that the MDC Alliance was rejecting the election results.