Mukoko, eight others remanded to April 9

mukoko_jessie.jpgHARARE - Zimbabwe Peace Project director, Jestina Mukoko and eight of her co-accused were on Friday remanded to April 9, 2008.This was after Mukoko, who looked resplendant on a navy blue two piece attire, together with her co-accused, had appeared at the Harare magistrate's court on Friday on routine re

The decision to remand the group was reached by consent by both the
state and the defence after the former had earlier promised the defence
that a trial date will be provided for the accused persons during their
next date of remand.

The defence, led by human rights lawyer, Alec Muchadehama wants the
state to furnish the accused persons with a trial date, short of which
the court should refuse them further remand.

Muchadehama also wants the accused persons’ stringent bail conditions to be relaxed.

He argues that his clients were not properly remanded and as such it
was not proper for them to remain under their stringent reporting

"None of these accused persons are properly on remand," Muchadehama told the court during Friday’s brief sitting.

"The state must regularise that anomally. Some of the accused persons
were abducted in October last year and they have been in police custody

"The state has failed to try them on time and in light of that, I feel their bail conditions must be relaxed."

But the state, represented by Tawanda Zvekare told the court the
accused persons would definately be notified of their trial date when
they appear in court on their next remand date.

"It is not true that the accused persons were not properly remanded," said Zvekare.

"If they were not properly remanded, they would not have been granted
bail in the first place. The accused persons would definately be served
with their charge sheets when they appear during their next day of

"The relaxation of bail conditions does not arise because we are in the process of preparing their indictment papers.

"By demanding for the relaxation of bail conditions, the defence is trying to put the cart before the horse."

Having listened to both arguments by the state and the defence, Harare
magistrate Memory Chigwaza said she had noted their arguments and thus
remanded the accused to next month.

Mukoko, seized from her Norton home early December last year and kept
in secret custody for nearly three weeks was produced a three weeks
later to be charged with conspiring to violently overthrow the

She was granted a US$600 bail by the High Court early this month after
a vigorous and widely publicised attempt by her lawyers to have her

She was also ordered to report twice a week to police in Norton, about
30 kilometers northwest of Harare where home is located, and surrender
the deed to her residence.

The bulk of the other accused persons were also granted bail the previous week.

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