Zimbabwe: MDC Manicaland Chairman Trial Opens in Mutare

press release

Everyone was dumbfounded when Mutizwa Mhondiwa, village head of Mhondiwa village under Chief Chitsunge in Buhera unashamedly confirmed that he was a strong Zanu PF supporter.

He admitted to being the party chairperson for Berenyazvivi district during cross examination, at the trial of Manicaland MDC Provincial Chairperson Julius Magarangoma which opened yesterday at Mutare Magistrate's court.

It was all drama when the two state witnesses Esteri Manyadza (73) and her husband Tichaengwa Manyadza (84) further gave unreasonably incompatible evidence against Magarangoma who is facing flimsy charges of threatening to commit murder.

Mr and Mrs Manyadza unashamedly gave irreconcilable testimonies with what the complainant, Mutizwa Mhondiwa had said, clearly showing that the charges against Magarangoma are trumped up.

A Mutare Magistrate Yeukai Chigodora refered the matter to the 21st of this month for ruling and the defence council led by Mr Trust Maanda, Mr Blessing Nyamaropa and Mr Passmore Tandire are to file their submissions by the 14th of February.

During the cross examination, the two state witnesses Esteri Manyadza (73) and her husband Tichaengwa Manyadza (84) both gave contradicting statements about how the alleged offense was committed.

Chairman Magarangoma was on 18 October last year charged for allegedly contravening Section 186 (1) as read with Section 47 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act by Detectives from the Law and Order Section at Mutare Central Police Station.

The police alleged that the MDC provincial chairperson, who reported to the police station in the company of his lawyer Blessing Nyamaropa of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights threatened to kill Mutizwa Mhondiwa for mobilizing and sending some people to destroy his homestead in Buhera.

The police said the incident took place on 1 October 2010 at Manyadza homestead, in Mhondiwa village under Chief Chitsunge in Buhera.

The defense council in their submissions during cross examination spelled out that Mhondiwa was never threatened but it was only a figment of his imagination and that he had slept at the police station not because he was threatened but because the police had refused to record his report and they only grudgingly did so after he put pressure on them.

The defence council said they are going to apply for a discharge of the matter following lack of justifiable evidence against the accused.

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