Bail hearing for 29 MDC-T activists postponed for 7th time

The bail hearing for the 29 MDC-T members, who are facing charges of murdering a police officer in Glen View, was on Monday postponed for the seventh time at the High Court.

Monday’s postponement was due to a power blackout in central Harare. A statement from the MDC-T said the state was expected to make its submissions Monday but failed due to the electricity cuts. The activists now have to wait until Wednesday to see if their bail application will finally be heard before Justice Chinembiri Bhunu.

Twice last week the hearing was postponed because the Judge fell sick. Before that another High court Judge Felistas Chitakunye postponed the hearing on two occasions as she wanted time to go through the state’s response to the bail application by the defence team.

When the defence team led by Charles Kwaramba filed for a fresh bail application soon after the group was taken into custody early this month, the hearing had to be postponed twice after state prosecutors requested time to make a response.

Promise Mkwananzi, the secretary-general of the MDC-T Youth Assembly, blasted the state for prejudicing their activists because of the long delay to try them in court.

‘There has been a significant delay for the trial to start since the death of the police officer last year and this has obviously prejudiced our members. In law, prejudice can be shown by lack of evidence or witnesses. They’ve also been denied a speedy trial, which in itself is also prejudicial,’ Mkwananzi said.

The 29 MDC-T members are accused of murdering police inspector, Petros Mutedza. However the group denies any involvement in the murder, saying the cop was fatally assaulted by patrons at a Glen View bar who were discussing football. Seven members of the group spent 9 months in custody. They were released a month ago, and had only tasted freedom for just two weeks before they were taken into custody again.

Meanwhile the trial of three Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MFL) leaders, who stand accused of trying to topple the inclusive government, has begun in Bulawayo.

The three leaders, Paul Siwela, John Gazi and Charles Thomas, all deny the charges. It is alleged they distributed flyers urging the public and security forces to turn against the government and join Mthwakazi Republic, a state which they want established after secession from the rest of the country.

Lionel Saungweme our correspondent told us the case started off badly for the state when two key witnesses denied knowledge of the three MFL leaders or of reading their flyers.

‘The state case is that these witnesses were coerced to join the MFL after reading flyers, but the key witnesses clearly denied ever reading the flyers thereby jeopardising the state’s case against the three MFL leaders,’ Saungweme said.

The trial was adjourned to Tuesday when more state witnesses are expected to take to the stand. SW Radio Africa

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