Chinhoyi Bureau — BUSINESSMAN Temba Mliswa's bid for freedom was dealt a blow today as Chinhoyi magistrate Mr Felix Mawadze denied him bail together with seven alleged accomplices in the Hurungwe violence case on grounds of political volatility. Mr Mawadze ruled after cross examination of all the accused persons that the situation in the Zimonja area of Zvipani, Hurungwe West constituency was still volatile and releasing them on bail could trigger unrest.
"From the evidence led during the whole bail application it was clear that Mr Mliswa has considerable influence in the area while Member of Parliament Sarah Mahoka also comes from the same area. The dust has not settled as there are said to be political factions in the area. So bail is denied," he said.
The magistrate, however, dismissed the other grounds proffered by the state to deny Mliswa (41), Goodwell Zinyama (49), Simbarashe Mamina (30), Christopher Munakira (35), Munyaradzi Mutami (33), Judge Mukwava (34), January Mapfundematsva (37) and Matilda Makwanya (33) bail.
The state had said the eight could abscond owing to the gravity of the allegations they face and the resultant sentence if they are convicted which is a fine or up to 10 years' imprisonment.
An assertion denied by the defence. After ruling the defence lawyers Mr Musindo Hungwe, Mr Ray Tsvakwi and Mr Mike Mutsvairo immediately applied that the matter go for trial
arguing that the state had brought a docket which implied that they had concluded their investigations.
"Your worship we have one small application to make before the court rises which is that the trial be moved to today in the interest of the constitutionally enshrined right of the accused to freedom. Bringing a docket means there is sufficient evidence gathered to go for trial," he said.
The defence argued that the witnesses including Cde Sarah Mahoka who is alleged to have been assaulted on February 22 at Zimonja business centre were in attendance.
Mr Hungwe said the defence was invoking the accused people's right to a trial arguing that there was no prejudice to the state if the application was granted. However, magistrate Mr Mawadze said there was need to align the court roll as the matter needs a continuous run until the trial is concluded.
His position was also supported by prosecutor Mrs Barbara Mabika who said the matter was just like any other that the court was dealing with and so should not be given special treatment.
The state had suggested that the trial starts on March 6 but the defence maintained that the right of the accused to liberty should be protected before the matter was taken to the chambers for determination.
They finally settled on Monday for trial.