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Respite for MDC officials

Lesley Moyo

A GWANDA magistrate has remanded two officials of the pro-senate Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to next month to give them time to file their applicati

on to have their charge of distributing subversive material referred to the Supreme Court.

Paul Themba Nyathi, the director of elections, and Sithatshisiwe Sibanda, the Matabeleland South administrator, are accused of distributing subversive material allegedly meant to incite soldiers and the police against government.

The two, who are accused of violating Section 30 of the Criminal Law and Codification Act, were not asked to plead when they appeared before Gwanda senior magistrate, Takudzwa Gwazemba, on Wednesday last week.

The two senior officials wanted to apply to have their case referred to the Supreme Court for the interpretation of the constitution in relation to the charges laid against them.

Nyathi and Sibanda, through their lawyer Thomson Mabhikwa of Mabhikwa, Likhwa & Nyathi Legal Practitioners, argue that the section they were charged under contravened Section 20 of the constitution which guarantees freedom of expression.

However, Gwazemba remanded the accused to December 6 to give them time to file their application challenging the constitutionality of the charge against them.

The state’s case is led by Admire Zvongouya.

The document the two are accused of distributing in Gwanda is entitled: A message to our armed forces, which was said to have originated in South Africa.

The state argues that the subversive material was likely to cause defections and dissatisfaction among the members of the police and army.

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