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MDC-T 29 defence lawyer breaks down in court

By Lance Guma

A prominent human rights lawyer defending 29 MDC-T members accused of killing a policeman, broke down in court on Tuesday after State prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba requested the court adjourn after only 26 minutes in session.

Being held as bait for someone else: Cynthia Manjoro had only returned from church with her two year old child and spent the better part of the day at home before she was arrested last year
Being held as bait for someone else: Cynthia Manjoro had only returned from church with her two year old child and spent the better part of the day at home before she was arrested last year

Beatrice Mtetwa shed tears in the High Court after Nyazamba claimed he could not avail another State witness to testify because the witness had allegedly been hospitalised. Mtetwa however said Nyazamba was abdicating his duties, lacked seriousness and was interested in the prolonged incarceration of the accused.

MDC-T Youth Assembly Chairman Solomon Madzore and 28 fellow activists are facing what his party believe are ‘trumped up’ charges of killing Inspector Petros Mutedza. The group has had countless applications for bail turned down and some of them have been in custody since their arrest 16 months ago.

On Tuesday State witness Stephen Manjoro revealed that his sister Cynthia Manjoro, one of the 29 accused in the alleged murder of Inspector Mutedza was only being held as bait until the arrest of Darlington Madzonga, who is said to have been using her car on the day the alleged offence was committed.

Stephen said Cynthia had only returned from church with her two year old child and spent the better part of the day at home before she was arrested. A tearful Mtetwa quizzed the judge on why a mother of a two year old is still in prison when there is overwhelming evidence that she had not committed a crime.

“A police officer by the name of Makedenge indicated that Cynthia Manjoro will only be released after Darlington Madzonga handed himself over to the police,” Stephen testified.

An outcry over the matter resulted in Cynthia being freed last year in July. She was strangely re-arrested in February alongside her freed colleagues on the basis of an obscure law setting out conditions for being indicted for trial.

Tendai Chabvuta, Mr Manjoro, Gladys Hlatywayo, Anna Manjoro and Hopewell Gumbo on a visit to Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison to see Cynthia Manjoro and the other detainees. In the picture is also Cynthia’s 2 year old son. (Picture courtesy of Hopewell Gumbo)
Tendai Chabvuta, Mr Manjoro, Gladys Hlatywayo, Anna Manjoro and Hopewell Gumbo on a visit to Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison to see Cynthia Manjoro and the other detainees. In the picture is also Cynthia’s 2 year old son. (Picture courtesy of Hopewell Gumbo)

Meanwhile Constable Victor Mafavhuke from Glen View police station who carried out some of the arrests admitted that he had not seen the MDC-T members committing the crime but only acted on information from an informer.

Asked to reveal the informers, Mafavhuke said he would not under whatever circumstance reveal the source. Mafavhuke further gave conflicting evidence during cross examination on whether he had seen the accused prior to the arrest by saying he had seen the accused at Glen View 4 shops.

In his sworn statement taken a day after the incident by the police, Mafavhuke indicated that he had not seen the accused but was informed that the accused were amongst the people who had killed Mutedza.

Constable Mafavhuke indicated that he had not recorded anything in police records but in his notebook which he swore could be brought to court.

He further said no identification parades were taken after the arrest of the suspects and he had not given identification particulars of the accused to the investigating officer a Mr Ntini.

The defence believes it has proved to the court that Constable Mafavhuke arrested the accused after they had been apprehended by Zanu PF youths for wearing MDC T-shirts.

Evidence given earlier in court by other police officers indicated that Constable Mafavhuke was involved in the parade that was later carried out at Harare Central Police Station but he denied this saying he had not participated in such a parade to authenticate identities of the arrested suspects.

Constable Mafavhuke admitted in Court that he had no knowledge of whether the accused had indeed participated in the alleged crime. The trial of the 29 MDC-T members continues today at the High Court.

Tichaona Mutedza, a brother to the deceased cop, last month blew big holes into the prosecution case when he said that his brother’s body had no genitals and tongue and that he believed the 29 suspects who have been in custody since last year in May are innocent.

During cross-examination in the bail application of the 29, Tichaona insisted that his brother was killed by members of the CIO and Zanu PF. Tichaona said Inspector Mutedza’s genitals and tongue were missing and challenged the State to exhume the corpse to verify his claims.

Defence lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa shed tears in the High Court
Defence lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa shed tears in the High Court

Tichaona proceeded to implicate a Zanu PF District Coordinating Committee chairperson in Mt Darwin called Mr Chirwanemoto who hinted at the killing of his brother during a political gathering on the 6th of August. Mutedza said on the 18th of April last year his late brother confirmed the plot against him.

Tichaona implicated CIO operatives identified as Scott and Victor Jaravaza as the ones who were initially set to kill his brother and in return get a tractor and a vehicle respectively. Mutedza said Zanu PF wanted to use his brother’s death as a campaign tool against the MDC-T.

Solomon Mutedza the father of the murdered cop also joined his brother in accusing Zanu PF and state security agents of killing his son. During cross examination in the bail application for the 29 activists Solomon Mutedza exonerated those in custody and said the police knew the real killers.

Mutedza said he was told his son was struck with a stone on the left side of the head, fell from the truck he was trying to board while it was moving and died on the spot. However, upon inspection, his body showed that his cheek had been pierced, tongue was missing, had a hole in the head and private parts missing.

Mutedza who is himself a Zanu PF member said the talk during the funeral of his son made him believe that Zanu PF and not the arrested MDC-T members had murdered his son. Mutedza said the 29 should be granted bail, as they were not the ones who killed his son and proper investigations should be conducted.

Strangely Justice Chinembiri Bhunu is dragging his feet over granting the accused bail, even though they were previously released and tasted freedom for a few weeks in which they did not abscond. There are already allegations that Justice Bhunu is taking political instructions from Zanu PF over the matter.

To contact this journalist e-mail [email protected] or follow him on twitter @LanceGuma

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