Gwisai’s defence team starts cross examining ‘star’ witness

The ‘star’ witness in the trial of University of Zimbabwe law lecturer, Munyaradzi Gwisai, on Monday finally turned up for cross examination and identified himself as a genuine serving police officer.

Munyaradzi Gwisai
Munyaradzi Gwisai

Gwisai was arrested in February after he watched videos of the Arab spring uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia with several other civic and human rights activists in Harare.

Jonathon Shoko infiltrated that meeting and provided all the information that led to the arrest of the former MDC-T legislator and other participants to the police. But infiltration is the job of the intelligence services, not the police, and so questions were raised as to who employed him.

Initially Gwisai was charged with treason and plotting to overthrow Robert Mugabe but that was downgraded to ‘conspiracy to commit public violence.’ He is being jointly charged with Antoneta Choto, Tatenda Mombeyarara, Edson Chakuma, Hopewell Gumbo and Welcome Zimuto.

Under cross examination from defence lawyer Aleck Muchadehama, Shoko told the court he was a police officer based at the Harare Central police station. However the defence team allege he is on the payroll of the CIO and was testifying falsely.

It was Shoko’s testimony that he joined the police force in 2001 after completing his ‘A’ level studies at Mutare Boys High School.

The ‘police officer’ however did not seem to be confident about the operations of the department he claims to be attached to. This led to the defence lawyer pointing out the inconsistencies in his testimony and that preliminary investigations with the police had shown that he was not in the books of the force.

His force number is believed to be ‘fake’ and did not match anybody in the police after the defence team checked the force records. The number is in the range of those who joined the police around 1998-9, while he says he joined in 2001. The trial was adjourned to Friday when the defence will continue with their cross examination. – SW Radio Africa

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