Zimbabwe: Mawarire, Mutasa Benefit From Prosecution Boob

Pastor Evan Mawarire arrives at the court in Harare (file photo).

The trial of Evan Mawarire of the shadowy group #ThisFlag campaign and Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president Peter Gift Mutasa yesterday hit a brick wall after the prosecution indicated it had erroneously referred the case to the Regional Court.

Mawarire and Mutasa are facing charges of subverting a constitutionally elected Government or alternatively inciting public violence.

During their previous appearance, the State told the court that it would be ready for trial on June 24 and 25.

The State, led by Mr Ephraim Zinyandu, yesterday sought further postponement to August pending finalisation of the duo's indictment to the High Court.

"This matter was erroneously remanded to the Regional Court for trial today, yet cases of this nature are heard at the High Court," he said.

Mr Zinyandu asked the court to refer the matter back to the remand court while they await indictment.

Through their lawyers, Mr Terrence Bhatasara and Mr Alec Muchadehama, Mawarire and Mutasa opposed application for a postponement.

"The State had two months from April 25 to prepare indictment papers. It is not competent for a matter that has been set down for trial to go back to remand court," Mr Bhatasara said, before applying that the duo be removed from remand as the State failed to reasonably justify another postponement.

In response, Mr Zinyandu said there was no undue delay in prosecuting the duo which warranted removal from remand.

"It will be premature for the court to remove the accused from remand," Mr Zinyandu said.

Harare regional magistrate Mrs Jessie Kufa rolled over the matter to today for ruling.

Meanwhile, in a separate case, the State yesterday made an application for the revocation of Amalgamated Rural Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) president Obert Masaraure's bail after he allegedly breached its reporting conditions.

Masaraure was last week issued with a warrant of arrest by Harare magistrate Mrs Barbra Mateko for absconding court.

In strengthening its application, the State called Assistant Inspector Farai Chabata to the witness stand, who indicated that Masaraure breached his reporting conditions after he failed to report to the police on June 14.

He said on the day in question, he had given instructions to his junior officers to inform him if Masaraure came to the police station to report, but this was never done, meaning he did not report.

The State called the deputy headmaster of Chemhanza High School, Mr Taurai Mararike, who told the court that he last saw Masaraure at the school premises on May 24.

Masaraure told the court that he reported at Hwedza Police Station on the day in question, but could not sign the relevant forms since he was told they were locked in the officer-in-charge's office.

He further stated that he left the police station without signing the documents because he was rushing to Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport to catch a plane.

Mrs Mateko deferred the matter to today for ruling.

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