15 March 2012

Zimbabwe: State On 'Fishing Expedition' As Charges Against MDC Members Crumble

Photo: Johannes Tomana/Facebook
Zimbabwe Attorney-General Mr Johannes Tomana.

press release

The High Court bail application for the 29 MDC members who are being falsely charged of murder and public violence has been postponed to tomorrow after Justice Chinembiri Bhunu said he was not feeling well to continue with the matter.

The hearing started this morning with the defence giving its submissions and the matter was scheduled to resume in the afternoon with the State giving its response but the matter was cancelled due to the non-availability of the judge.

During their submissions in the morning, the defence lawyers accused the State of going on a "fishing expedition" as it has no solid evidence against the accused.

The defence lawyers said when the accused were arrested last year, they were charged with murdering a police officer in Glen View, Harare. However, when they were indicted early this month, the State proffered new charges of public violence.

"As far as the defence is concerned, the State case is weaker as defined by a new charge - on initial remand they were only charged for murder - but now through indictment, the State has proffered public violence charges," said defence lawyer, Charles Kwaramba.

"In the minds of the accused the State is on a fishing expedition. We believe it is a climb down on the part of the State. It does not have solid evidence on the matter and as a result the accused are proper candidates for bail," said Kwaramba.

Another defence lawyer, Gift Mtisi said the State case was collapsing "like a deck of cards."

"The State had ample time to investigate but there is no single witness who positively identifies the appellants. The AG (Attorney General) has failed to put facts which strengthen the State case. They are limping and have proffered another charge, which is of public violence," said Mtisi.

After the defence lawyers' submissions, State prosecutor, Edmore Nyazamba made an undertaking to make a response in the afternoon but the matter was later postponed to tomorrow.

Hundreds of MDC officials, members, the relatives and friends of the accused, packed Court A where the matter is being held.

Among the senior MDC officials who attended today's hearing were, Hon. Tendai Biti, the party's Secretary-General and his deputy, Hon. Tapiwa Mashakada, the Deputy Treasurer-General, Hon. Elton Mangoma, the Minister of Housing and Social Amenities, Hon. Giles Mutsekwa and Harare provincial chairperson, Hon. Paul Madzore.

Those accused for the false murder charge and public violence charges are; Solomon Madzore, the MDC Youth Assembly chairperson, Last Maengahama, a National Executive Committee member, Councillor Oddrey Sydney Chirombe of Ward 33, Budiriro, Councillor, Tungamirai Madzokere of Ward 32, Glen View, Cynthia Manjoro, Lloyd Chitanda, Stanford Mangwiro and Tendai Chinyama.

The others are; Jefias Moyo, Abina Rutsito, Gabriel Shumba, Stephen Takaedzwa, Linda Madyamhanje, Tafadzwa Billiard, Simon Mudimu, Dube Zwelibanzi, Simon Mapanzure, Augustine Tengenyika and Gapara Nyamadzawo, Paul Rukanda, Lazarus and Stanford Maengahama, Kerina Dewa and Memory Ncube, Rebecca Mafukeni, Yvonne Musarurwa, Phineas Nhatarikwa and Stanford Mangwiro.

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