HARARE - The High Court has barred the media from covering proceedings in a criminal case of four men, including two soldiers, on charges of plotting to bomb President Robert Mugabe’s dairy outside Harare.
A director of Military Intelligence sought and got the gag order, which was presented yesterday before provincial magistrate Vakayi Chikwekwe at the start of a trial in which the four face charges of “possession of weaponry for sabotage and money laundering for terrorism purposes”.
Jailed president of the Zimbabwe People’s Front political party, Owen Kuchata, 34, ZNA corporals Borman Ngwenya, 30, Solomon Makumbe, 29, and an ex-soldier Silas Pfupa, 37, are facing treason charges.
The February 12 High Court order says: “All persons, including members of the media, shall be excluded from the proceedings, except for the parties, witnesses and their legal representatives.
“Any oral, written, transcribed or electronically stored record of proceedings shall not be accessible to any persons save for the parties and their legal representatives.”
But Chikwekwe argued that the application should have been made in the lower court before being taken to the High Court.
“We are not subject to direction by the registrar; the conduct of the registrar is tantamount to directing this court to convict or acquit an accused person. It is therefore wrong at law,” Chikwekwe said.