Opposition leader Ndibali freed

BULAWAYO - Leader of the fringe opposition Zimbabwe Economic Freedom Fighters (ZEFF), Innocent Ndibali — who was accused of violating immigration laws after he recently addressed journalists at the Bulawayo Media Centre -—has been freed.

The UK-based Ndibali, 38, who is a holder of a British passport, was set free following an application for discharge by his lawyer Jabulani Mhlanga of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights at the close of the State case.

Magistrate Sithembiso Ndlovu yesterday discharged Ndibali after the State failed to prove its case. This was after the State invited the Bulawayo Media Centre chairperson Pamenus Tuso, the immigration official and the police to testify in the matter.

Ndibali’s lawyer, Mhlanga, argued that there was no evidence to sustain the charge.

The lawyer said the arrest of his client was a violation of his constitutional rights as a Zimbabwean citizen.

It is the State’s case that on August 11 this year, Ndibali entered the country through the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport in Bulawayo.

The court heard that on arrival at the airport, the accused person tendered his passport to immigration officers and he was issued with a 14-day holiday visa.

On August 18 at around 7pm, Ndibali held a press conference at a city hotel to market his party’s manifesto ahead of next year’s harmonised elections.

The State further noted that the accused person, by so doing, failed to comply with the conditions under which he was granted a visa to enter the country.

The court heard that Ndibali was supposed to solely be on holiday and not conduct any other business in the country.

Ndibali was later arrested soon after addressing journalists in the city and was detained overnight, only to be released the following day.

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