Zimbabwe: MDC Top Politician Skips Court, Warrant of Arrest Issued

MDC national chairperson Thabitha Khumalo (file photo).
17 September 2019

A Bulawayo magistrate Tuesday issued a warrant of arrest against MDC chairperson, Thabitha Khumalo after the lawmaker failed to attend a hearing before her court.

The firebrand politician, together with six other party activists who include Senator Helen Mpofu, are facing charges of spreading falsehoods.

This follows their arrest last month while distributing fliers urging the public to take part in what was a planned MDC protest march in the city August.

The MDC activists are out of custody on $200 bail each.

Bulawayo provincial magistrate, Tinashe Tashaya issued Khumalo with an administrative warrant of arrest and advised her lawyer to bring her to court as soon as she returns.

Two weeks ago, Khumalo successfully applied for the alteration of her bail conditions citing pending parliamentary business outside the country.

Magistrate Tashaya acceded to her request not to report at the Bulawayo Central police station's Law and Order division every Friday as part of her bail conditions.

Khumalo's lawyer, Godfrey Nyoni from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights told the court that the legislator travelled to South Africa on business and failed to make it back on time for her court appearance.

He said Khumalo had notified the court of her trip in her previous appearance and had expected to be back on time but due to reasons which were not specified in court, she failed to travel back on time.

"The accused person, through her defence council, had advised the court that she will be traveling on business to South Africa but had said she would be back to meet the court date," said Tashaya.

"To that effect, an administrative warrant of arrest is hereby issued for the accused person. Her lawyer is advised to bring her to court as soon as she comes back," ruled Tashaya.

Magistrate Tashaya postponed the matter to October 4 to deliver his ruling on the application.

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