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Kereke appeal still to be determined

By Tendai Kamhungira

The High Court is still to bring to finality jailed former Zanu PF legislator Munyaradzi Kereke’s appeal, after he was sentenced to 14 years for rape in 2016.

Zanu PF Bikita West legislator Munyaradzi Kereke boards a Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services truck on his way to prison following his conviction and sentencing for rape yesterday. —(Picture by Innocent Makawa)
Former Zanu PF Bikita West legislator Munyaradzi Kereke boards a Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services truck on his way to prison following his conviction and sentencing for rape. —(Picture by Innocent Makawa)

Kereke is challenging both his conviction and sentence, in an appeal before High Court judges Charles Hungwe and Neville Wamambo.

The businessman was in 2016 slapped with a 14-year-jail term after being convicted of sexually abusing his relatives’ then 11-year old daughter at gunpoint, but four years of his jail time were suspended on condition of good behaviour.

The complainant’s lawyer Charles Warara yesterday told the Daily News that they were still waiting for the outcome of the appeal.

“We are still waiting for the court’s judgment on the appeal filed by Kereke,” he said.

Since his incarceration, the former Bikita West legislator made several attempts, through bail applications, to seek release from prison on bail pending appeal, but to no avail.

In February this year, Kereke again filed another bail application bid based on changed circumstances, stating the current leadership in government would understand that his incarceration was politically-motivated.

His jail term was cut by three years. This is over and above confirmation that the businessman had also been removed from D class at Chikurubi Maximum Prison to Conmara Open Prison.

The details emerged in Kereke’s application for bail pending appeal based on changed circumstances.

“The Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) has, taking into account applicant’s (Kereke) exemplary behaviour reclassified him from the D class and he now qualifies to be admitted to Conmara Open Prison. That entitles him to occasionally be with his family.

The conditions pertaining to the grant of bail have accordingly drastically altered. An applicant who is effectively entitled to serve his sentence at home is surely entitled as well to bail pending appeal.

“The Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services has further cut 40 months of the sentence he must serve through remissions.

In reality, applicant has now directly served 18 months, 48 months were suspended on condition of good behaviour, a further 40 months have been interfered with on remission which leaves applicant with 38 percent of his sentence to serve.

The risk of him absconding under the circumstances has been diminished to the point of extinction,” Kereke’s lawyers told the court.

He said the new political dispensation has an effect on his political persecution.

“The court was also duty bound to consider the ‘political’ angle set up by applicant. It was consistent with the nub of his defence and was not an afterthought as wrongly concluded by the court,” he said. Daily News.