Cleric Mugadza granted bail

HARARE - Cleric Phillip Mugadza, who appeared in court yesterday after staging a protest against President Robert Mugabe’s government at Africa Unity Square in Harare, has been granted bail.

He was remanded to December 14.

Mugadza, 46, of Mugadza Village under Chief Makore in Gutu, was charged on allegations of being a criminal nuisance. He was represented by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)’s Gift Mtisi.

He appeared before magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti.

Mtisi challenged his client’s placement on remand arguing there was gross abuse of his constitutional rights at the hands of law enforcement agents.
He further submitted that allegations being levelled against his client did not constitute an offence.

“Soon after my client’s arrest, he was detained for hours at Parliament building before being taken to a guard room where he was assaulted by plain clothes police officers with the blessing of their uniformed counterparts who looked on.

“He tried to raise a complaint but no arrest was done. His arrest and subsequent appearance in court today is unlawful because the arresting details did not promptly inform him of his arrest and there is no nexus between the section under which he has been charged and the allegations before the court.”

One of the arresting details, Cosmas Matanha, responded that the allegations established criminal nuisance because Mugadza had disturbed normal flow of business since a crowd had started to gather around him.

Muchuchuti will determine whether Mugadza should be placed on remand or not today.

Prosecutor Audrey Chogumaira alleged that on November 22 around 4pm officers from the police reaction group were on patrol at African Unity Square.

They reportedly heard the accused person shouting on top of his voice, disturbing people who passed by the park.

The officers proceeded where Mugadza was standing and noticed that he had chained and padlocked himself to fencing rails at Africa Unity Square.

It is further alleged that Mugadza had positioned himself directly opposite Parliament entrance along Nelson Mandela Avenue.

The State alleges Mugadza annoyed Parliament employees and other members of the public.

He was subsequently arrested and taken to Harare Central Police Station after being advised of his charge.

The State intends to produce the chain and padlock used by Mugadza as exhibits.

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