By Tarisai Machakaire
Four suspects who were reportedly caught attempting to bomb Alpha Omega Dairies yesterday applied for refusal of further remand, accusing the State of infringing on their right to be tried within a reasonable period of time.
Jailed president of the Zimbabwe People’s Front political party, 34-year-old Owen Kuchata, Zimbabwe National Army corporals — Borman Ngwenya, 30, Solomon Makumbe, 29 — and an ex-soldier Silas Pfupa, 37, are facing treason charges.
They appeared before Harare magistrate Bianca Makwande.
Makumbe and Pfupa’s lawyer, Gamuchirai Dzvitiro, slammed the State for dragging the case and prejudicing the accused.
“The accused persons’ constitutional rights, as envisaged in Section 69 which guarantees right to a public trial within a reasonable period, have been breached,” Dzvitiro said.
“We came today anticipating to be served indicts for trial at the High Court since on August 18 the State said it was unable to indict us because the superior courts were on vacation and would undertake to do so for the third quarter.”
“We requested to see if there was any form of communication between State and the registrar of High Court but the correspondence we got today is from the prosecutor general’s office instead,” Dzvitiro said.
Prosecutor, Sabastian Mutizirwa, indicated that the quartet’s trial would be held in the first quarter next year.
He requested for time to prepare his response to Dzvitiro’s submissions before the matter was postponed to October 30.
Mutizirwa alleged that sometime in August last year, the accused persons held several meetings at Queens Hotel in Harare and planned to subvert a constitutionally-elected government.
Pursuant to their plan, the four allegedly went to Mapinga in Mashonaland West and formed a camp from which their members would be trained and operate.
On January 1, they went to Mugabe’s rural home in Zvimba and carried out surveillances to identify suitable vulnerable points to carry out the sabotage.
They later met on January 19 at Queens Hotel and resolved that they would use fertiliser bombs to fulfil their mission.
On January 22, at around 4pm, police received a tip off that the quartet were planning to bomb Alpha Omega Dairies’ processing plant and tuck-shop during the night.
It is alleged that the four accused Mugabe of causing suffering to Zimbabweans because of his “dictatorial leadership”.
Police detectives proceeded to the farm and laid an ambush about 100 metres from the quartet’s target.
Around 10pm, detectives saw the quartet approaching the dairy’s processing plant and immediately arrested them.
They searched them and recovered four Molotov cocktails (petrol bombs), ammonium nitrate, nails and sand in 750 millilitres Chateau bottles.
They also recovered Zimbabwe People’s Front Party manifesto, party constitution and documents relating to its activities. Daily News