By Tatenda Mabasa | Nehanda Mutare Bureau |
RUSAPE – THE MDC-T candidate for the orphaned Makoni Central Mr Patrick Sagandira was on Tuesday remanded in custody after the prosecution invoked the notorious Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.
Mr Sagandira had been granted bail by a Rusape magistrate, but the State lawyer Mr Tirivanhu Mutyasira, invoked the notorious legislation to thwart his bid for freedom for the next seven days.
Sagandira will be languishing in remand alongside his campaign manager Mr Lovemore Chifomboti, who handed himself to police early Tuesday morning. This is the second time in as many weeks that Mr Mutyasira invoked the same law to deny an MDC-T official liberty.
Two weeks ago Mr Mutyasira did the same to the MP for Makoni South Hon Pishai Muchauraya following his arrest on allegations of making death threats to former Daily News Editor Geoff Nyarota’s campaign manager Mr Amos Kutiya.
However, the Attorney General’s office was forced to withdraw its appeal before High Court judge Justice Joseph Musakwa.
Sagandira and Chifomboti are facing public violence charges following a report by his rival Grace Kwinjeh’s campaign team Messrs Tazviona Marima, Canaan Nyamombe and one Yasini.
The MDC-T pair is denying the charges arguing that they were being persecuted by their political rivals following their victory in Saturday’s polls.
The latest incident allegedly occurred at Nyabadza Business Center where Kwinjeh’s bid for public office fell away following a poor showing. Mr Sagandira’s incarceration has angered party supporters, who packed the court gallery, only to leave it shaking and scratching their heads in disbelief.
Their lawyer Mr Leonard Chigadza, of Chigadza and Associates, who was being assisted by Mr Taurai Khupe had this to say:
“My clients are proper candidates for, and had been granted bail by the magistrate, but the State appeared aggrieved by that decision and reacted by invoking Section 121.
“We will wait for the expiry of the seven days period, and if the AG lodges an appeal, we will argue at the High Court, but if they fail, the two will be released on $100 bail as adjudicated by the magistrate,” said Mr Chigadza.
“They have entered a not guilty plea because we feel it were the complainants who must have been arrested because they caused commotion by grabbing the ballot boxes.
“Anyway, we will be looking up to it, but my clients are being persecuted by a faction within the party, who are not happy by Sagandira’s victory in the race for Makoni Central,” said Mr Chigadza.
Mr Chigadza allayed fears regarding Sagandira’s fate ahead of Friday’s nomination.
“He has submitted all the necessary papers to the party and his agents (Peter Sagandira and Zeohania Mberikunashe) will be there to submit his documents on the nomination day. The law allows that. The incarceration does not signal an end of his political career. He will contest the forthcoming elections,” added Mr Chigadza.
Hordes of MDC-T supporters attended the hearing.
Sagandira has since been confirmed as the party’s candidate for the next elections, despite Kwinjeh’s stance to the contrary. Kwinje polled 222 votes while Sagandira polled 280. Kwinjeh is disputing his lead alleging vote irregularities and violence – in which her manager Marima is the only complainant.
Kwinjeh, whose chances suffered a lethal blow due to her absence on the ground and reliance on weak emissaries that failed her campaign as a founder member of the party, had been misled into believing that she had the seat under her thumb two weeks ago.
That was despite the fact that only nine out of 16 wards had cast the ballot when the Deputy Women’s Affairs Minister, Jessie Majome, Senator Ceaphas Makuyana and provincial member Teddy Chipere presided over the election.