By Jeffrey Muvundusi
Controversial activist Charles Thomas, who was arrested in January during violent fuel protests on allegations of fatally stoning a police officer to death, has been issued with a warrant of arrest hardly two weeks after the High court had granted him bail.
This has, however, raised speculation that he might have skipped the border in light of the gravity of the charge his is facing.
Thomas, who is jointly charged with Bernard Sibanda on murder charges, spent more than a month behind bars as their lawyer, Dumisani Dube of Mathonsi Ncube Attorneys fought to secure their release.
Bulawayo High Court judge Nokuthula Moyo granted the two $100 bail each and had been remanded to March 11 for commencement of trial.
However, Bulawayo provincial magistrate Franklin Mkwananzi on Monday issued a warrant of arrest after the two failed to turn up for their court appearance.
The duo’s names were called three times as per court procedure, but they were nowhere to be seen.
It, however, also turned out that the two had not been religiously following the bail conditions given to them.
Thomas and Sibanda had been ordered to report every Friday and Monday between 6am to 9pm at the Law and Order section at Bulawayo Central Police Station.
They had also been ordered to stay at the addresses they had given to the court.
Their lawyer yesterday dismissed reports that his clients were on the run: “We managed to have it cancelled yesterday mid-morning. They are now due to appear in court on April 3,” said Dube.
The court heard that during the shut-down protests last month Thomas and Sibanda ganged up with a mob who stoned Zimbabwe Republic Police officer Ekson Maune, leaving him for dead.
Maune succumbed to the injuries the following day at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) where he was admitted into the Intensive Care Unit .
The court heard that the deceased, who was in police uniform, was carrying out his duties of maintaining peace and order in Njube suburb when he got attacked.
The duo first appeared before Bulawayo provincial magistrate Tinashe Tashaya, who latter advised them to apply for bail at the High Court.
Soon before his arrest, Thomas had organised a march from Large City Hall to the Bulawayo High Court to deliver petition as part of a push to set up a special commission to address the post-independence mass killings. However, police blocked the march.
Thomas was once arrested alongside exiled Paul Siwela in 2011, then under the banner of Mkwakazi Liberation Front — a secessionist movement — for allegedly distributing fliers calling on Zimbabweans to revolt against the government.
The duo were charged with treason. However, Thomas was later acquitted while Siwela fled the country during his trial claiming that his life was in danger. DailyNews