Travesty of justice

The continued incarceration by the Zimbabwe Republic Police of MDC youth chairman, Solomon Madzore, and seven other party activists charged with the murder of a policeman in Glen View in May, is a travesty of justice.

Earlier this week Madzore’s bail hearing was postponed for the eighth time in three weeks. It has been a circus. Spurious excuses have been made for the prosecutor’s absence – he was at a funeral, a training course, busy with other business. Decisions have been delayed. When the eventually showed up, Justice Maria Zimba Dube denied bail and condemned Madzore to spending Christmas and New Year in jail.

The state claims that when Madzore was arrested, he was on the run – despite video evidence of him addressing the public at MDC events. His wife and doctor have submitted affidavits confirming his whereabouts when the murder was committed.

All the accused, including 20 other MDC members who are out on bail, have been remanded to January 9, 2012.

Dube’s decision has come as a shock to any right-thinking Zimbabwean, and indeed to our many friends around the world. That one could spend six months in prison without a shred of evidence being presented of one’s guilt is inconceivable.

It is quite clear that the ZRP has, during six months of serious investigations, managed to find no evidence against these citizens. If they had, surely they would have presented it by now? Every time they come to court it is simply for further remand. All bail requests for the eight still in custody are vigorously opposed by the state on the grounds that they are a flight risk.

Our justice system is supposed to operate on the presumption of innocence. In the likely event of their eventual acquittal, these unfortunate individuals will have received severe punishment – several months in Zimbabwe’s squalid jails, separated from their families – for nothing. Their lives, their jobs, their families, their health – have all been irrevocably damaged. And if they are innocent … ?

There is no doubt that these members of the MDC are being persecuted for their political activism – nothing else. This is all part of an orchestrated campaign by the police, who are Zanu (PF) activists, to disrupt the MDC election machinery.

We find it despicable that our judiciary appears to be complicit in this travesty of justice. It is a fact that the wheels of justice in Zimbabwe turn very slowly. But in this case it would appear they have ground to a halt.

Post published in: Editor: Wilf Mbanga

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