State has no evidence, as activists rot in jail

The case against 29 MDC-T members accused of murdering a police officer in Glen View in May last year is set to crumble as the State’s evidence is weak, lawyers representing the activists have said.

Solomon Madzore
Solomon Madzore

The activists, most of whom are still being held in custody a year later, are expected to appear before the High Court on June 4.

Allegations are that the 29 allegedly took part in the murder of Asst Insp Petros Mutedza during a confrontation between MDC-T members, who were holding a meeting in the populous Glen View suburb, and the police, who had come to disperse the meeting, claiming it was illegally convened.

The activists, it is alleged, attacked the police with stones, resulting in Mutedza’s death. Immediately after the murder, police launched a massive crackdown in most southwestern suburbs.

Solomon Madzore, the MDC-T National Youth Chairman, is among the accused – but was only arrested in September 2011. His repeated attempts to be remanded out of custody have failed.

“About 25 of them are saying they were not even at the meeting or the scene of the murder and four are saying they were present but fled when the police arrived to dismiss the meeting. They have strong alibis,” their lawyer, Charles Kwaramba, told The Zimbabwean.

He said the autopsy shows that Mutedza could not have been murdered by more than three people.

“The post mortem shows one blow and a few bruises in the head and this cannot be said to be a result of the actions of many people,” he said.

“The State’s witnesses are also not claiming to have seen any single individual taking part in the murder but are just saying they saw a group of people wearing MDC-T regalia, which does not confirm that our 29 clients are the ones who took part in the murder,” added Kwaramba.

The case demonstrates a tendency by some politicians to victimise their clients, he said.

“They (unspecified politicians) are just happy to have MDC-T people in custody, and they do it carelessly because if the post mortem can show that the murder was not committed by many people, why keep 29 people in custody?” he said.

Turning to the activists’ treatment in custody, Kwaramba said the accused were badly treated by prison officials.

“They are not getting medical treatment. We have one who has a broken arm after being assaulted in police custody and there is another whose private parts are swollen but no doctor has come to see him,” said Kwaramba.

A year after the Glen View incident, the trial has failed to kick off and no evidence linking the 29 activists to the murder has been presented in court. On numerous occasions, the High Court has failed to sit because either the judge, Justice Chinembiri Bhunu, or the prosecutor have been “not feeling well”, away doing “other business”, attending a funeral, or “not ready to proceed”.

In a recent statement, the MDC-T lambasted what it called the State’s and the Judiciary’s unjustified manoeuvres to continue to “imprison, persecute and harass innocent and peace-loving Zimbabweans whose only crimes are to be members of a political party that is fighting to bring about democracy”.

The party has continually expressed concerns that the accused are living in inhumane conditions, with two of the female inmates, Rebecca Masvikeni and Yvonne Musarurwa, in solitary confinement in the male section at Chikurubi Maximum Prison.

Post published in: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *