Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Mwonzora breathes sigh of relief over dropped charges

By Tichaona Sibanda

MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora on Thursday blasted state security agents for abusing the criminal justice system to persecute him. 

The late Nyanga headman Rwisai Nyakauru who was beaten to death in April 2011 by Zanu PF militants is seen here pictured with Douglas Mwonzora (Picture by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights)

Mwonzora, a lawyer by profession who has been arrested and thrown into prison cells dozens of times, believes his troubles with the law are related to his work as a senior politician with the MDC-T.

An outspoken figure the 45 year-old Mwonzora was two weeks ago hauled before the courts for a matter dating back 14 years, in which he was being accused of theft by conversion.

This forced him to appeal for the court’s protection last week leading to the state on Thursday withdrawing its criminal charges. Mwonzora confirmed the charges were based on an issue that happened 14 years ago.

‘It is clear that the State agents are abusing the criminal justice system to harass me. I will never be intimidated by these evil machinations,’ said Mwonzora, who had been dragged to court over a 1999 case, which the State was pursuing, despite the complainant withdrawing the matter.

Mwonzora was this month summoned to appear before a Harare magistrate for allegedly fleecing his client Lameck Kunjeku of Z$300,000 in 1999. Kunjeku told the court two weeks ago that he was no longer interested in the case, but the State insisted it was proceeding to trial.

Regional magistrate Themba Kuwanda was even surprised at the state’s insistence, saying the actions created “unnecessary suspicion on the system”.

‘General law of practice says once a complainant says he is no longer interested, the matter is withdrawn,’ Kuwanda said recently.

He also queried as to who had resuscitated the case and why the state was insisting on going to trial, yet the complainant had made it clear that he was not interested.

Meanwhile, High Court Judge Francis Bere on Wednesday ruled that the MDC’s challenge of the government’s position that mayors should only be selected from elected councilors, is not urgent.

The MDC-T, through its lawyers Mwonzora and Associates, filed an urgent High Court application last week, seeking an order to compel Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo to allow non-councillors to be elected as mayors and chairpersons of local authorities. SW Radio Africa