HIGH Court judge Justice Neville Wamambo will on Thursday deliver a ruling on the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) candidates who allegedly forged signatures of party officials to file nomination papers to represent the opposition party in next month’s elections.
CCC lawyer advocate Thabani Mpofu told the court that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) registered the candidates under the party despite forging signatures of officials who were mandated to sign for candidates.
Mpofu also said their candidates had an original pre-prepared photo of the party’s logo while the bogus candidates had photocopies.
The lawyer submitted Fadzayi Mahere’s form and that of the “bogus” CCC candidate Freddy Masarirevhu as evidence and highlighted the discrepancies on the forged form.
“The first are the nomination forms for Fadzayi Mahere. The second is a document for Freddy Michael Masarirevhu. On our case Mahere is the legitimate candidate and Masarirevhu is the bogus candidate.
“The political party is required to place its symbol and place it before Zec. On the form for Mahere there is an original pre-prepared photo of the logo and on the one for Masarirevhu there is a photocopy.
“On page 5, there is the signature for Farirai Gobvu. On the Mahere documents, the signature is smooth and on the Masarirevhu paper is trembling.” Advocate Mpofu told the court.
“People who clearly do not have a logo are being declared the candidates for that party. You have a completely unnecessary man,” he said.
Mpofu said the nomination court officer was given documents in advance.
“The reason why we give specimen signatures is because the law requires that the nomination officer must conduct verification by his or her naked eye.
“The nomination officer must compare it with any nomination paper that has been filed. The law also says you may also entertain a doubt. The nomination officer has all the contact details. It is true that he cannot get involved in the internal squabbles of political parties,” Mpofu averred.
However, Zec lawyer Advocate Tawanda Kanengoni argued that prior to elections there was no letter that provides a specimen logo.
“The one that is described as bogus and the logo that is there, it satisfies that description. It is a white background, with Nelson Chamisa’s face and a black box written CCC.
“There was no reasonable suspicion that the nomination officer would suspect that this is not the CCC logo. The signatures, I don’t know what aspects of that signature the appellant has made.
“When you look at those signatures, there is no real basis where you can say they are different. They are substantially similar.
“Any nomination officer who looks at the specimens and the nomination papers would not say they look different. None of us are experts in that,” Kanengoni argued.
The alleged 17 bogus candidates are all being represented by Tinashe Zinto. — NewsDay