Harare mayor freed

HARARE - The courts yesterday ordered the immediate release of embattled Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni after it emerged that the State had detained him for more than 48 hours and therefore breached the Constitution in the process.

Manyenyeni is being charged with criminal abuse of office, as well as allegedly corruptly concealing personal interests in some council transactions.

He was picked up by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) soon after the High Court ordered his reinstatement on Wednesday morning, having been on suspension for two months.

Ordering Manyenyeni’s release yesterday, Harare Provincial Magistrate Douglas Vakayi Chikwekwe slammed Zacc officials’ claim that the under-fire mayor had not been incarcerated for more than 48 hours.

“It is not in dispute that on June 29, he (Manyenyeni) was at the High Court and that Zacc officers were tracking him since that time. There are glaring inconsistencies in the State’s evidence as the form 242 suggests the time of arrest as 2pm and yet chief investigating officer Saveus Kufandada suggested 12:40 pm.

“It is important to keep abreast with provisions of the Law. On a factual point of view this was an illegality and violation of his rights,” Chikwekwe ruled.

Manyenyeni’s lawyer Lovemore Madhuku commended the magistrate for embracing the law.

“This is a progressive judgment and restores the rule of law. We were faced with a baseless arrest, prosecution and court appearance. If they are going to attempt to arrest him again on the same charges, we are going to fight them at the High Court.

“You will note that even the charges were hopelessly defective as a mayor is never liable for whatever he did in office in good faith,” Madhuku said.

MDC secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora, who also spoke after the ruling, echoed Madhuku’s sentiments.

“This is a victory for Zimbabwe. We are glad that there are signs that constitutionalism is beginning to creep into our system. We are going to escort the mayor back to his office to resume his duties as mayor of Harare,” he said.

Comments (2)

These petty issues are costing the gvt and the ruling party a lot of public support as we feel this is just cruelty to citizens. When even the rural old people are critical of the amount of money lost by gvt over this kind of unnecessary cruelty then you know some party is up for a big surprise

Simbimbino - 4 July 2016

The last people to see the country is burning are those in Zanu PF. We know them, we saw and heard them celebrating a stolen election - it's pay back time.

Sagitarr - 4 July 2016

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