MDC activists granted bail

HARARE - Harare magistrate Tendai Mahwe has granted bail to eight MDC activists who were arrested last Sunday in Epworth on public violence charges, after ruling that the State’s case was weak.

Mahwe granted the eight activists $100 bail each, saying the State had failed to substantiate why it was denying the suspects bail.

The suspects are Antony Shangadeya, 52, Songi Chari, 32, Veronica Chinembiri, 35, Alex Makina, 33, Nyararai Chibindu, 52, Moses Chindanga, 26, Kholwane Makina, 26 and Emmerson Makahamadze, 27.

They are represented by Musindo Hungwe, who claimed in court that none of the suspects had been arrested at the crime scene.

He said one of them was apprehended by Zanu PF militia group Chipangano in Mbare.

Hungwe said this yesterday, while cross examining the investigation officer Clifford Mugaviri, during the activists’ bail application.

Hungwe said Makahamadze was apprehended in Mbare, just because he was putting on an MDC T-shirt, after he was forced out of a commuter omnibus, while travelling from Kuwadzana.

He said there were no compelling reasons to deny his clients bail.

Magistrate Mahwe also ordered the state to properly cloth the suspects, after Hungwe raised queries over the torn prison clothes that some of his clients were putting on during the bail application.

Hungwe told the court that the clothing his clients were putting on had an effect of infringing upon their dignity.

He said his clients were being selectively ill-treated, because other suspects, who were not part of the group, wore proper clothes.

The group was arrested after a rally held by the party’s leader Morgan Tsvangirai in Epworth on Sunday, with the State claiming they destroyed window panes, doors, chairs and tables belonging to Zanu PF supporters.

Prosecutor Sharon Mashavira said the incident took place after the rally, when the group allegedly proceeded to Belapazi Farm.

According to state papers, the farm is a Zanu PF stronghold. The group allegedly assaulted Zanu PF supporters using bricks and stones.

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