State witnesses fail to identify informants

Two police officers who were called today to testify as State witnesses in the High Court murder trial in which 29 MDC members are being falsely charged with murder, failed to name their informants involved in the arrest of the accused persons.

Timothy Guta, who arrested Solomon Madzore, the MDC Youth Assembly chairperson on 4 October 2011, told the court that after some informants had informed the police that Madzore was part of the group that was in Glen View when Inspector Petros Mutedza died.

Guta said he did not know if Madzore was in Glen View on the date the offence was committed but was only working on assumptions made by the informants. Asked to name the informants, Guta said he could not do so as they were only known by the investigating officer, Detective Inspector Clever Ntini. Ntini is yet to testify in court.

Guta's response led to a query by the defence lawyer, Alec Muchadehama as to why the informants were “nameless and faceless” yet they were heavily relying on their information.

The police however failed to make a follow up on Madzore’s alibi, which states that on the day in question he had visited the MDC Harare Youth Assembly chairperson, Shakespeare Mukoyi who was unwell after he was assaulted by the police.

Later in the day on 29 May 2011, Madzore accompanied his wife to the doctor as she was also not feeling well.

Another witness called in after Guta, Obert Maida who was in May Last year heading the CID Homicide Section at Harare Central failed to recall the names of the police officers who accompanied him to make arrests or to name the people who were arrested during the raids.

Maida is now a Detective Chief Inspector with CID Homicide based at the Police Headquarters.

The situation in today’s trial was made worse by Edmore Nyazamba, the State prosecutor who failed to submit statements made by the State witnesses before the trial to the defence lawyers. Nyazamba said the non-submission of the statements to the defence was an oversight and promised to submit the statements when the trial resumed after lunch.

However, the trial failed to kick off in the afternoon after Nyazamba said he could not locate the statements.

The MDC has continued to maintain that the 29 accused persons are innocent and their lengthy incarceration is persecution and not prosecution. They have been in remand prison for 16 months.

On Tuesday, the defence registered a formal protest with the trial judge, Justice Chinembiri Bhunu against Nyazamba for engaging in delaying tactics. Justice Bhunu said he was wondering why Nyazamba was always late for court.

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