'MDC officials being arrested on flimsy charges'

 'MDC officials being arrested on flimsy charges'
Published: 13 August 2019 (87 Views)
THE Nelson Chamisa-led MDC believes its official are being arrested on flimsy charges most of which are thrown out by the courts for lack of merit.

This comes after MDC's Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya and his Redcliff counterpart Lloyd Mukapiko were last week acquitted of charges of inciting violence during the January fuel price hike protests. The duo had however, spent more than two weeks in custody before being granted bail.

Kwekwe magistrate Story Rushambwa finally concurred with the legal team for the MPs led by Gweru lawyer Wellington Davira that the State had failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.

The State, led by prosecutor Yemurai Mugumba, had alleged that the two MDC officials incited public violence during the fuel price hike protests that rocked the country in January after Mnangagwa raised the price by 150 percent.

Reacting to the acquittals, MDC secretary for Justice and Legal Affairs Innocent Gonese said while the party welcomes the development, the duo should not have been arrested in the first place as the charges that they incited violence in January were spurious.   

"There was simply no evidence against them and putting them to their defence and let alone arresting them was unwarranted and tantamount to political persecution and muzzling them merely for having different views and speaking for the voiceless as elected representatives of the people," Gonese said in a statement yesterday.

He also lamented the fact that while legislators were cleared of the violence charge they remain on remand on further charges of subversion "which we know have no substance".

"We remain hopeful that the Judiciary will do the right thing and set them free. However, this cannot be taken for granted as we still have our other MDC leaders like Last Maengahama and Tungamirai Madzokere languishing in prison for a crime they never committed," said Gonese.

Maengahama and Madzokere were convicted by High Court Judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu for murdering Petros Mutedza, a ZRP Inspector on May 29, 2011.

Gonese said the MDC had also "noted with consternation" the arrest of #Tajamuka leader Promise Mkwananzi who was recently arrested on charges of treason and incitement to commit public violence.

"It is our strong view that all this is calculated to muzzle and silence outspoken Zimbabweans who are simply exercising their right to protest against the deteriorating economic crisis brought about by corruption, misgovernance and bad policies.

"We also lament the ominous threats issued against us for giving notice that on the 16th August we must exercise our democratic right in terms of Section 59 of our Constitution we have emphasised that this will be a peaceful protest and we do not see why anyone should panic about it.

"We are aware of machinations to cause confusion and mayhem but we will not be deterred as Zimbabweans want to get out of our misery but  we are dealing with an uncaring regime which is unwilling to accept failure and enter into dialogue for the nation to be extricated out of this  quagmire," said the Mutare Central legislator.

- dailynews

Tags: MDC,
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