4 March 2019

Zimbabwe: Treason Accused MP to Know Fate On Tuesday, Arresting Detective Booed By MDC Court Gallery

Photo: Joana Mamombe
Joana Mamombe.

Treason accused MDC Harare West MP Joanah Mamombe will know her fate this Tuesday after she appeared in court on Monday challenging her placement on remand.

The 25-year-old legislator was seized from a Nyanga hotel on Saturday by half a dozen detectives who immediately drove her to Harare where she was charged with subverting a constitutional government.

This is after she allegedly called on members of her constituency while addressing a press briefing in January to protest against government following price hikes.

Her lawyers argued she was unlawfully arrested and detained and wants the charges scrapped.

The legislator also argued that she was brought to court long after the 48 hour detention period had lapsed.

Presiding magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa will pass a ruling on Tuesday morning.

Mamombe will spend another night in police custody.

If placed on remand, the country's youngest lawmaker will have to seek bail via the High Court as the lower courts have no jurisdiction to grant bail as her case is deemed serious according to Zimbabwean laws.

During court session, one of the detectives who arrested Mamombe while attending parliament business was Monday booed by MDC legislators and activists who packed the court gallery in solidarity with the MP.

Dennis Muroiwa was called in to testify after Mamombe raised complaints over her arrest and detention.

He invited heckles from the largely MDC gallery when he evaded simple questions put to him by Mamombe's lawyer Obey Shava.

A thoroughly grilled Muroiwa was seen fiddling with his fingers while in the witness' stand.

Muroiwa said he has been in the force for eight years and joined the CID Law and Order department three years ago.

He also confirmed raiding the Harare home of Mamombe's mother searching for the MP.

During cross examination, he was asked who his bosses were and to mention other structures within the CID division but looked ignorant.

Muroiwa also failed to name any four colleagues he worked with.

"This has nothing to do with this case, no comment," he would repeatedly respond.

Shava then accused Muroiwa of being a police imposter.

The lawyer said the officer was a soldier sent to harass his client, "You do not know because you don't belong to ZRP.

"You may not be able to say your benefits for being used but promise you will not be used again."

Shava continued, "When are you going to the barracks and leave police duties?"

Muroiwa insisted he was a police officer and supported this by producing his work ID card.

Shava then asked him, "When you were trained as a soldier, were you taught that addressing a press conference is a crime."

Absent-mindedly, Muroiwa said they were not taught that it was a crime.

He then concluded his testimony and walked out of court amid jeers from MDC supporters.

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