Chinhoyi Bureau — BUSINESSMAN Temba Mliswa yesterday appeared before a Chinhoyi magistrate together with seven accomplices facing charges of assaulting Hurungwe East legislator Cde Sarah Mahoka and her entourage at Zimonja business centre in Zvipani last week.
He was remanded in custody as his bail application is set to continue today.
The defence led by lawyer Mr Musindo Hungwe and assisted by Mr Ray Tsvakwi applied for bail on behalf of Mliswa while Mr Mike Mutsvairo carried instructions from the seven other accomplices.
Mliswa's alleged accomplices are Goodwell Zinyama (49), Simbarashe Mamina (30), Christopher Munakira (35), Munyaradzi Mutami (33), Judge Makwava (34), January Mapfundematsva (37) and Matilda Makwanya.
Magistrate Mr Felix Mawadze deferred finalisation of the bail application and determination to today following a marathon hearing that attracted a packed courtroom.
The case drew interest from people ranging from Zanu-PF party officials, Chiefs Nematombo and Nyamhunga and several headman.
In his defence outline, Mr Hungwe said Mliswa was in Harare at the time the MP was attacked.
"The allegations entail physical presence at the scene of the alleged crime and at the very least Mr Mliswa should have been part of the public affected by the violence. A crime cannot be committed in absentia," he said.
He said the State case was "manifestly" weak as Mliswa could not be counted as the first accused in a crime that occurred in his absence.
The defence team said the eight were suitable candidates for bail as they posed no flight risk while highlighting that they had stable families which they could not leave behind.
However, prosecutor Mrs Barbara Mabika opposed bail saying the eight would interfere with witnesses and jeopardise investigations.
She said six other suspects had not yet been accounted for.
The State called investigating officer Detective Sergeant Christopher Mundembe who said investigations were not yet complete.
"We have to account for the other suspects first so we are opposed to bail so that the accused do not interfere with witnesses," he said.
Cde Mahoka appeared at the court with a bandaged leg. Mliswa appeared calm, even joking with other inmates.
After deferment he was whisked to Chinhoyi Remand Prison together with his co-accused. Makwanya fainted during the bail hearing and the State, with the consent of the defence, proceeded with the matter.