State withdraws charges against Nkayi councillors

State prosecutors on Tuesday 27 September 2011 withdrew public violence charges leveled against 12 Nkayi councilors, including five senior members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) after conceding that they had no case to answer.

State prosecutor, Maxwell Hapanyengwi conceded to an application for an exception to the charges of contravening Section 37 (1) (a) (i) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act (Chapter 9:23) filed by defence lawyer Lizwe Jamela of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and withdrew the charges which had been preferred against the Nkayi councilors.

Magistrate Nduna Masuku presided over the case at Nkayi Magistrates Court.

In his application for exception, Jamela had argued that the facts presented by the State in court failed to disclose an offence warranting the councilors to be placed on trial. The human rights lawyer argued that when the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act was put in place, the intention of the legislature was not to criminalise the mere act of meeting.

The State alleged that the MDC officials, acting in concert at a private premise, unlawfully held an unsanctioned meeting intending to disturb the peace or security or order of the public or realising that there was a real risk or possibility of forcibly disturbing the peace, security or order of the public or any section of the public.

But lawyers argued that the accused persons were discussing arrangements for a Christmas party when police pounced on them.

The 17 are MDC Matabeleland North provincial chairperson, Sengezo Tshabangu, Agrippa Sithole, Conelius Mubaiwa, Brenda Mpofu, Mbonisi Khumalo, Thabani Moyo, Mateu Ncube, Sanezai Albert Gumbo, Sicelo Mpofu, Mpokiseng Sibanda, Mgijima Dube, Nhlanhla Dube, Reuben Moyo, Lucky Sibanda, Maria Ndlovu, Sambulo Maphosa and Newman Magutshwa.

Post published in: Politics

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