By Walter Nyamukondiwa
HARARE – Police have arrested two more suspects in the Hurungwe violence case involving businessman Temba Mliswa. This brings to 10 the number of people arrested for being involved in the fracas that left Hurungwe West legislator Sarah Mahoka injured.
Mliswa and his co-accused yesterday suffered yet another setback after their application for refusal of remand was thrown out.
This prompted defence lawyers Mr Musindo Hungwe, Mr Ray Tsvakwi, Mr Mike Mutsvairo and Mr Choga to make a concerted application of change of jurisdiction arguing that the court had not been fair in its rulings.
“We continue to be shocked and so is the gallery at the decisions that the court has made and we want to make another application for change of jurisdiction to Harare where we feel, as the defence, our clients will get justice which in all humbleness we will not get if tried in this court,” Mr Hungwe said.
The defence argued that justice had been severely compromised by the rulings made in the bail and refusal of remand applications. Magistrate Mr Felix Mawadze ruled that the State had no obligation to prove a prima facie case at this stage of the trial.
The defence, however, argued that it had to show reasonable grounds for suspicion saying the State had failed to do so. It alleged that there were external factors that were compromising the delivery of justice.
“This matter has attracted attention and undue pressure which has handicapped the quest for justice for the accused persons which can only be remedied by change of jurisdiction,” said Mr Hungwe.
The State, said the defence, would suffer no prejudice if the application was granted. Prosecutor Mr Trust Mukarati and Mr Kudzai Choga said they were not in a position to respond promptly leading the court to push the determination of the application to today.
On the refusal of remand application for Mliswa and the two accused people Livingston Muwandi and Munyaradzi Gava who were arrested at the weekend, the defence had argued that the State had not advanced evidence showing Mliswa’s involvement in the violence at Zimonja Business Centre in Zvipani.
The defence argued that the charge and the material facts advanced by the State and witness statements admitted by the court as evidence were not sufficient in the balance of probability to connect the accused and the commission of the alleged crime.
Mliswa (41), Goodwell Zinyama (49), Simbarashe Mamina (30), Christopher Munakira (35), Munyaradzi Mutami (33), Judge Mukwava (34), January Mapfundematsva (37) and Matilda Makwanya (33) are facing public violence charges arising from disturbances that occurred at on February 22.
They allegedly assaulted Mahoka and her entourage. Mr Mukarati presented two witness statements from Lancelot Koronga and Joseph Chirongoma which the defence immediately dismissed as helplessly anchored on hearsay.