Lawyer/police bicker over ‘missing’ MDC activists

Loughty Dube

TWO opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activists accused of murdering a Zanu PF supporter, Limukani Luphahla in Lupane, in the run-up to the disputed 2002 presidential election, fai

led to appear before a Bulawayo High Court Judge, prompting a verbal exchange between the police and the lawyer representing the two.


The two MDC activists, Remember Moyo and Khethani Sibanda, are believed to have fled the country after being constantly harassed by state security agents.


However, there are fears for the two’s safety after sources indicated that they were always under surveillance by state security agents who raided the their homes.


The two failed to appear at the Bulawayo High Court for trial on Tuesday this week prompting a harsh verbal exchange between the attorney for the two, the police and the prosecution team on the other hand.


The police and the state prosecutor, Martha Cheda, did not, however, press for the issuance of a warrant of arrest for the two, as is the norm in such cases.


The two are being tried for alleged involvement in the murder of Luphahla in Lupane prior to the 2002 presidential election.


Moyo and Sibanda were last year acquitted in the case in which they were, together with six other MDC activists, accused of murdering war veterans leader, Cain Nkala.


There was a harsh exchange of words between the police and the lawyer representing the pair, Nicholas Mathonsi of Coghlan and Welsh.


The police said Mathonsi was responsible for the disappearance of the two, arguing that the lawyer made an undertaking to ensure they would be in court during their bail application.


However, Mathonsi refused to take the blame for the disappearance of the two opposition activists and instead said it was the duty of the police to ensure that accused persons were brought to court.


The Judge Justice Nichols Ndou intervened and ordered that both the police and the defence counsel help each other bring the two to court as a matter of urgency.


Mathonsi in an interview later with the Zimbabwe Independent said there was no need for the police to issue a warrant of arrest against the two since there was no summons issued by police in the first place.


“The police never issued summons against the two and in any case it is the duty of the police to bring accused persons to court,” said Mathonsi.


He said the police could have been disappointed by the outcome of the

previous case involving Sibanda and Moyo.