MLF treason case opens today

BULAWAYO - The defence case against Charles Thomas, one of the members of the Matabeleland Liberation Front (MLF), is expected to kick off today at the Bulawayo High Court before Justice Nicholas Ndou.

Thomas had his application for discharge dismissed by Justice Ndou at the close of the State case in December last year.

Lawyer Robert Ndlovu, who is part of Charles Thomas’ defence team, made the confirmation to the Daily News yesterday.

“Yes, I can confirm that the matter has been set down for tomorrow (today),” Ndlovu said.

An initial hearing  saw an application for a warrant of arrest being issued against former MLF leader Paul Siwela after he failed to turn up for the court appearances.

Siwela is reportedly in self-imposed exile after his lawyer told the court his client feared for his life after receiving death threats from unknown people during the course of the pending case.

While Siwela has been active on the social networking site, Facebook, no reports of his arrest have been received ever since the warrant was issued, further raising suspicion over his whereabouts.

However, one of the co-accused, John Gazi, was set free when his application for discharge was accepted at the close of the State’s case as the State had failed to prove a prima facie case against him.

In dismissing the application by Thomas, Justice Ndou said the State had provided reasonable evidence to prove that he directly took part in the commission of the alleged crime.

Justice Ndou said there was strong evidence linking Sithole to the case which involved the distribution of flyers, some of which purportedly had incriminating messages.

In the treason case, Thomas is represented by advocate Lucas Nkomo, Robert Ndlovu and Sindiso Mazibisa.

Gazi, 54, Thomas, 44, and former presidential candidate Siwela, 49, were arrested while distributing pamphlets in 2011 during the tenure of the government of the inclusive government and were charged with trying to topple President Robert Mugabe’s government through unconstitutional means.

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