Four MDC activists freed on bail

HARARE - High Court judge Joseph Musakwa yesterday freed four MDC activists — accused of inciting public violence and burning down two State motor vehicles — on $100 bail each.

The four — Kerina Gweshe, 62, Tonderai Chakeredza, 44 , Arthur Chiguvari, 35, and Loveness Mahlepu, 42 — had approached the High Court after they were denied bail by the Harare Magistrates’ Courts.

In his ruling, Musakwa said the presiding magistrate failed to gauge the strength of the State’s case properly and misdirected himself in the process.

The magistrate, Vakayi Chikwekwe, had ruled that the suspects might abscond if released on bail, due to the seriousness of the offence.

Chikwekwe further said that there is reasonable suspicion that they committed the offence, adding that there were witnesses that saw them committing the crime.

However, the suspects’ lawyer, Marufu Mandevere, said his clients were arrested from their respective homes and not close to the crime scene.

“The court a quo grossly misdirected itself in making a finding of fact that there was evidence linking . . . appellants to the commission of the offence when in fact, the alibis which were raised by . . . appellants were not investigated,” he said.

“Further, nothing was placed before the court to link the accused persons to the commission of the offence, and no facts were placed before the court to prove the allegations of overwhelming evidence against the accused persons,” Mandevere said in an argument that found favour with Musakwa.

He further said it is not possible for Gweshe at her age to run around with police in hot pursuit, loot shops and engage in some of the activities alleged by the State.

According to court papers, the suspects participated in demonstrations staged on August 24 and 26, 2016 in the Harare central business district (CBD).

The State alleged that the group gathered at Harvest House along Nelson Mandela Avenue in Harare and conspired to cause sporadic public violence and reportedly set alight two State-owned motor vehicles.

The two vehicles belonged to the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings.

The suspects reportedly went around the CBD destroying property and pelting police motor vehicles using stones.

They reportedly shattered “windows and looted several properties, thereby disturbing peace, security or order of the police”.

Meanwhile, other political activists — Promise Mkwananzi and Bruce Usvisvo — who are also accused of inciting public violence remained in custody yesterday after their case was postponed to next Wednesday.

This was after prosecutor Sharon Fero told the court that she was not yet ready with her response as she was waiting for the record of proceedings from the Harare Magistrates’ Courts to be transcribed.

Both Mkwananzi and Usvisvo are denying the charges.

Comments (1)

After dismally failing to apprehend the people who (thankfully) burned the normally abused vehicles, they picked people randomly to present a picture of efficiency in the eye of their bosses. A very shameful thing to do.

Seedman Mtamandeni - 11 September 2016

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