Mnangagwa ally finally freed

HARARE - War veterans’ leader Victor Matemadanda, who is facing charges of undermining the authority of the president and causing disaffection among the defence forces, was yesterday granted $200 bail.

The development was a dose of good news for Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s allies whose other vocal wordsmith Energy Mutodi remains behind bars following his arrest on similar charges nine days ago. 

However, after weighing the State and defence counsels’ arguments during bail hearing yesterday Harare provincial magistrate Elisha Singano ruled that Matemadanda was a proper candidate for bail.

“It is the courts’ considered view that the accused is a proper candidate for bail since he has cooperated with investigations so far,” Singano said.

Matemadanda was given bail on the grounds that he deposits $200 at the clerk of court, resides at his given address, report once a week at Gokwe Police Station and does not interfere with State witnesses.

The State had opposed bail arguing that the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) secretary-general would not only abscond but would interfere with State witnesses who were set to give evidence against him.

The State, led by Prosecutor Fransisca Mukumbiri, also opposed bail on the grounds that Matemadanda is facing “serious offences which are a threat to national security”.

“The accused has a propensity to commit a similar offence as he has a pending matter of a similar nature,” Mukumbiri argued.

However, Matemadanda’s defence counsel Muzokhuthula Mbuyisa of Mtetwa and Nyambirai contended that Matemadanda had been granted bail for the earlier offence he was arrested and had religiously followed the bail conditions to the effect that he has been removed from remand.

Mbuyisa also argued that the State’s case was unfounded and mainly bordered on their opinion, to which Harare provincial magistrate Singano later agreed while handing down his ruling. 

“Suffice to say that the investigative officer confirmed that the accused voluntarily surrendered himself to law and order section with his legal team. This shows cooperation,” said Singano.

“He went on his own to the police after being phoned and such conduct by the accused tips the scales in his favour. In fact most of the grounds by the State are general in nature like for example the seriousness and overwhelming evidence against the accused. The defence has argued that the State already has the material in its possession in the form of the video, so there is nowhere that the accused can tamper with evidence,” Singano ruled.

“More so on the witness that were present (at the press conference) the State had ample time to record the statements from witnesses that is from the 11th until the arrest on 16 August.”

Sinango said the State’s claim that the matter was “serious” and a threat to national security did not hold water as it was not coupled with strong evidence.

The defence counsel immediately made notice that they would be making an application to challenge the grounds of their client’s arrest.

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