Siwela bail hearing on Thursday

paul_siwelaHARARE - The Supreme Court will now hear secession activist Paul Siwela's bail plea on Thursday after demanding that he first makes testimony that he will not engage in any treasonous offences if he is freed from Khami Maximum Security Remand Prison. (Pictured: Paul Siwela)

Siwela has been > indicted on State charges of treason and agitating for the overthrow of government. Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku posted the petition for hearing to an indefinite date on a request for adjournment made by State counsel, which demanded that Siwela — who has a previous treason charge — first tables an affidavit swearing that he will not dabble in treasonous affairs if released from prison.

That has now been done, and the Chief Justice’s office has faxed the communication, according to Siwela’s lawyer, Advocate Lucas Nkomo.The matter has been set down in the Chief Justice’ chambers at 12 pm, Thursday June 2. Siwela, a Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF) member and fierce advocate of separatism agitating for the rise of an independent Mthwakazi State in Matabeleland, has languished in the maximum security prison since March 3. He was jointly charged with two other MLF activists, who have since been freed on bail.

The former Zapu Federal Party (FP) leader, who contested the 2002 presidential elections and lost, was denied bail in the Bulawayo High Court on charges that he was a flight risk, that he had a pending treason case in the lower courts, and was allegedly a habitual repeat offender.

On March 3, the Bulawayo High Court issued notice to the State on the Special Leave Petition filed by Siwela’s defence team against the order refusing to grant him bail during the pendency of the hearing of his appeal against the trial court’s verdict. The State team has opposed bail saying he could abuse his freedom to wage a war against the government of Zimbabwe. The State case is that Siwela allegedly distributed fliers inciting MLF activists to stage Egypt-style uprisings to topple President Mugabe. He is jointly charged with John Gazi, Charles Thomas and seven other men still on the police ‘wanted list’ for plotting to overthrow a constitutionally-elected government.

Siwela and his co-accused all plead their innocence and say they have been targeted for belonging to MLF, an extremist pressure group demanding a semi-autonomous Mthwakazi State in Matabeleland to be a separate country from Zimbabwe. Reports suggest the activists want Matabeleland annexed as South Africa’s 10th province, ostensibly because Zimbabwe’s central government has marginalised the Matabeleland provinces.

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