MP Makuyana’s kidnapping conviction quashed

An MDC-T MP’s conviction for kidnapping two ZANU PF activists was on Thursday quashed by a court of appeal in Harare.

Meki Makuyana, legislator for Chipinge South in Manicaland province was jailed for 18 months in prison following his July 2009 trial before Chipinge magistrate Samuel Zuze. The conviction meant the MP was subsequently suspended from Parliament.

The 44-year-old MP was convicted of kidnapping Joseph Dhliwayo and Simon Kumbula, two well known ZANU PF activists in Chipinge South. Three other MDC activists, Simon Chaya, Wedzerai Gwenzi and Hardwork Masaiti the councilor for Ward 26, were also jointly charged with the legislator.

But two High court judges ruled the convictions ‘unsafe’ and thereby vindicated the MP’s claims that Magistrate Zuze had been biased in his judgement.

Justice Susan Mavangira, sitting with Justice Charles Hungwe said the trial magistrate had erred on a number of issues and that the record of proceedings was in shambles.

Trust Maanda, the defence lawyer for Makuyana told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that there were so many things missing from the court records relating to his client’s case that it cast doubt on the outcome of the trial proceedings.

“What the magistrate wanted was just a conviction and in the end, he did not do his work properly. There are certain omissions from the court room…to the extent that the record is shambolic,” Maanda said.

The MP is set to resume his Parliamentary duties once the High court verdict is sent to the clerk of Parliament, Austin Zvoma.

Makuyana said he felt very relieved that the conviction has been quashed as he knew all along that the charges were trumped up. He described the appeal process, which took three years, as ‘emotionally and financially’ draining.

“This was a case of miscarriage of justice. How could the police even consider charging me with kidnapping when all I did was transport the two ZANU PF guys who had stabbed an MDC activist to a police station?” asked Makuyana.

He explained that on the day of the incident he was addressing a constituency meeting when there was some commotion among the crowd.

“There were these ZANU PF people who were trying to disrupt my meeting, and when our supporters tried to stop them, one of them, Wedzerai Gwenzi (MDC) was stabbed by Simon Kumbula (ZANU PF),” Makuyana said.

He continued: “Kumbula was quickly apprehended and together with Chaya, Gwenzi and Masaiti we made citizens’ arrest and drove him to Chisumbanje police. There we filed our complaint, left him and Dhliwayo with the police. But to our surprise we heard that the former ZANU PF MP Enock Porusingazi secured their release hours later.”

That was not all, he added, as the police dropped charges against Kumbula and Dhliwayo. The police then laid charges of kidnapping against Makuyana, which led to his July 2009 conviction. SW Radio Africa

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