Three more arrested on coup charges

THREE more suspects have been arrested in connection with the foiled coup — two of them serving members of the armed forces and the other one a second year University of Zimbabwe (UZ) student. Elias Gapare and Charles Mupfudze, the soldiers, have been in detention at 2 Brigade Barracks in Cranborne since last June. Rangarirai Mazivofa — who is studying Agriculture at UZ — was also arrested last June and has been in detention since then after a brief court appearance last year during which they were denied bail. Mazivofa has appealed to the Supreme Court to be freed.

This comes as a magistrate’s court last week set the trial date for the six men originally accused of plotting to overthrow President Robert Mugabe last year. The trial is expected to commence on July 7 and the accused will remain in detention. Albert Matapo and his co-accused Nyasha Zivuku, Oncemore Mudzurahona, Emmanuel Marara, Patson Mupfure and Shingirai Mutemachani, were arrested in May and have been in custody since then.

This week the lawyers representing the six, Charles Warara, confirmed the arrest of the two soldiers and the student. The lawyer is also representing the three. He said attempts to have them released have been futile.

High Court Judge November Muchiya last week denied the six accused men bail saying the police have unearthed new evidence implicating them in the coup plot.

Warara said his clients were being kept under “D” class conditions at Chikurubi maximum prison when they have not been convicted.

“My clients have been in custody since the time of their arrest and they are being kept under “D” class conditions when the courts are yet to find them guilty of the charges being levelled against them,” Warara said.

“D” class conditions are normally applied to inmates convicted of serious crimes such as murder.

Matapo is also being charged with deserting from the army, but Judge Advocate Captain Anderson last month postponed the case indefinitely until the High Court makes a decision on a challenge to the proceedings of the court martial.

The state is alleging that the alleged coup plotters wanted to topple Mugabe and replace him with Rural Housing and Social Amenities Emmerson Mnangagwa. Mnangagwa has since denied any links to the alleged plotters.

Lucia Makamure

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