WATCH: “Bye mum we only afraid of Covid-19” – Mamombe tells mother on way to prison
By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Courts |
Opposition MDC Alliance youth leaders Joanah Mamombe and Cecilia Chimbiri will spend another night in police custody as their bail application failed to start because of delays by prosecutors.
The two, Harare West legislator, Mamombe and youth activist Chimbiri were arrested following allegations that they staged a demonstration outside the new government complex.
The two made their initial appearance before Magistrate Stanford Mambanje who rolled their case to tomorrow (Wednesday) citing the State’s position and the Covid-19 related curfew.
While walking to the police truck that took them to the remand prison on Tuesday, Mamombe said they were only afraid of Covid-19 but they were resolute.
“Goodbye mum,” Mamombe emotionally said while waving to her mother and Dad.
“It’s really unfortunate. I think the only fear is the fear of catching Covid-19 otherwise we’re very strong and resolute.”
The two are represented by Charles Kwaramba of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) who complained against the way Mamombe and Chimbiri were arrested.
He was also disgruntled with the fact that his clients came to court in the morning only for their matter to be addressed at 3pm resulting in the magistrate rolling it to tomorrow because of the Covid-19 related curfew.
“Some measures of violence were used at the time of the arrests. Police officers shouted obscenities at the accused persons,” Kwaramba said.
“They were arrested in Mafia movie style manner where their vehicle was abruptly stopped.
“They were not advised why they were arrested in a physical manner.
“Their vehicle was searched without a search warrant. Should the accused persons suffer for no fault of his or hers. I plead with them to be fair with the accused persons.”
He added: “The court bears allegiance not to anyone but to the constitution.”
State responded saying the curfew was a “national law in the Covid-19 era” despite the fact that the prosecution was accused of delaying proceedings by the defense lawyers.
However, the magistrate moved the matter to tomorrow 9am (Wednesday).
“The prevailing circumstances world over are compelling that all businesses end at 3pm and courts are no exception,” magistrate Mambanje said.
Mamombe together with colleagues Chimbiri and Netsai Marova were arrested in May last year and charged with allegations of faking their abduction.
These allegations came regardless of the activist being taken by suspected state security agents from police cells, dumped in Bindura and found after four days with injuries on their bodies.
The European Union (EU) bemoaned the arrest of the two as unconstitutional.
“We are closely following the arrests and detention of Joana Mamombe and Cecilia Chimbiri, apparently for comments made to a police officer regarding Covid-19. Free speech is a right enshrined in the 2013 Constitution,” the EU said. Nehanda Radio