Court To Rule On Bail For Woza 2

A BULAWAYO magistrate, Charity Maphosa, is today expected to make a ruling on the bail application by Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza) leaders, Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu, who are facing allegations of threatening peace and public order.


Williams and Mahlangu were arrested at Mhlahlandlela government complex last Thursday, the second time this year, allegedly protesting against the humanitarian situation and the political impasse between Zanu PF and the two MDC formations on the distribution of ministries under the unity government deal signed on September 15.
They were charged under a section of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly “disturbing the peace, security or order of the public”.
Kossam Ncube, representing Williams and Mahlangu, told the court on Tuesday that his clients were good candidates for bail, but the prosecution opposed the application arguing that the accused had the propensity to commit similar offences.
The prosecution said Williams and Mahlangu had pending cases before the courts dating back to 2004.
It said Mahlangu and two others appeared in court in March 2004 on allegations of publishing statements prejudicial to the state.
In June 2007, the prosecution submitted, Mahlangu and Williams were arrested outside Bulawayo Central police station and charged with “participating in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breach of peace and bigotry”.
They challenged the constitutionality of the law they were charged under and the matter was referred to the Supreme Court.
In May 2008, the two accused were arrested in Harare and spent 37days in remand prison for staging a demonstration calling on Sadc to bring an end to political violence ahead of the June 27 presidential election run-off.
The prosecution claimed that if Williams and Mahlangu were granted bail they would abscond.
It alleged that in the past it had difficulties in finding Williams at her home every time they tried to summon her to court.
In response, Ncube said his clients were never convicted of any crime and the prosecution could not argue that they had the propensity to commit further offences.
Maphosa said she would make the bail application ruling today.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Exiles Forum and the Southern African Centre for Survivors of Torture have condemned the arrests of Williams and Mahlangu and called for their immediate release.
In a joint statement, the two organisations said the arrest of the two activists violated the spirit of negotiations taking place between Zanu PF and the two MDC formations.

 

By Thando Mpofu 

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