Trial of Minister for “Stealing” Cellphone Begins

thamsanqa_mahlanguHarare - The trial of Youth Development, Indigenization and Empowerment Deputy Minister and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) National Youth Chairman, Thamsanqa Mahlangu has commenced at the Harare Magistrates Court. (Pictured: Thamsanqa Mahlangu)

Mahlangu is jointly charged with his personal assistant Malvern Chadamoyo and two Hwange ladies Geraldine Phiri and Patience Nyoni on allegations of stealing a cellphone belonging to self styled war veterans leader and ‘commander in chief’ of farm invasions, Joseph Chinotimba.

In his evidence in chief before magistrate Kudakwashe Jarabini, Chinotimba, one of the State witnesses, sucked in Nelson Chamisa, the MDC spokesperson and Minister of Information, Communication and Technology into the case. Chinotimba told the court that he informed Chamisa that members of his party whom he had been seated with on the same table at a conference held last month at the Rainbow Hotel had stolen his mobile phone handset, a Nokia 2310.

The war veterans leader, who put the value of the mobile handset and sim card at US$40 and US$10 respectively said Chamisa informed him that he had enquired and engaged Mahlangu about the stolen cell phone, who informed him that he had not taken Chinotimba’s cell phone. He told the court that he incurred a bill amounting to US$40 after the two Hwange ladies who allegedly stole his sim card made calls from his sim card. Two other State witnesses namely Detective Inspector Henry Sostein Dowa and Cecelia Chimbiri, the Information Officer in Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara’s Office are scheduled to testify in court on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Harare Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi will on Tuesday next week, deliver a ruling on an application for refusal of remand filed by four Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) leaders, who are accused of participating in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breach of peace or bigotry. Mutevedzi set the date to deliver the ruling after defence lawyer and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) member Jeremiah Bamu applied for the removal from remand of the ZINASU President Clever Bere and three other representatives of the students union namely Kudakwashe Chakabva from the Harare Polytechnic, Archieford Mudzengi from the Zimbabwe School of Mines, and Brian Rugondo from the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), who were arrested early this month.
In his application Bamu told Magistrate Mutevedzi that there was no reasonable suspicion that the four committed any offence. Bamu said it was insufficient for the State to allege that some of the student leaders had tried to incite violence at the UZ campus. He said the aspect of inciting violence was not addressed in the Form 242 before Magistrate Mutevedzi and that the State had fallen short of identifying who amongst the four students incited people to be violent.
Bamu said the State had conceded that the T-Shirts inscribed “Take Charge to Complete the Change,” which the four students were allegedly distributing at the UZ campus did not contain anything unlawful. Earlier on Magistrate Mutevedzi was forced to postpone the matter to Wednesday 2009 after court officials failed to locate the court record.

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