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Trial of MDC Activists to Open on Monday

THE high-profile trial of four of the 16 human rights and MDC-T activists accused of plotting to destabilise the country and overthrow President Robert Mugabe’s government opens in the High Court on Monday.

MDC-T Mashonaland West women’s assembly chairperson Concillia Chinanzvavana, Zvimba South district chairperson Fidelis Chiramba, district women assembly secretary Violet Mupfuranhewe, and district youth chairperson Collen Mutemagau face charges of contravening provisions of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

The four are part of 16 human rights and MDC-T activists who claimed that they were abducted by state security agents between October and December last year on allegations of banditry.

In the case of Chinanzvavana, Chiramba, Mupfuranhewe and Mutemagau, the state alleges that between July and October 30 2008 in Banket, the four acting in common purposes, unlawfully and intentionally recruited Tapera Mupfuranhewe and other MDC-T youths to undergo military training in Botswana “for the purpose of committing acts of insurgency, banditry, sabotage or terrorism” in the country.

According to the summary of the state case, the accused “incited” the youths to undergo the military training under a programme dubbed the National Youth Symposium Training.

“The accused did this through mostly holding meetings at accused two (Chiramba)’s house where a high turnout of people numbering to a hundred would attend, and accused one (Chinanzvavana) would address these meetings in the presence of all the other accused,” read the summary.

At one of the meetings, the state alleges, Chinanzvavana said Mugabe should be removed from power because he had contributed to “the hunger, poverty and unemployment” people were experiencing.

“Amongst other people the accused managed to recruit one Tapera Mapfuranhewe to undergo military training in Botswana. Interviews were conducted at Harvest House’s second floor”, the summary of the case read. “At the time Tapera Mupfuranhewe went for the interview there were a total of 51 other interviewees of whom 48 were males and three were females… The interview was conducted by a Ms Ncube and a Professor Malvern.”

The state further alleges that the military training was conducted at Okavango Training Camp in Botswana and “two of the instructors answered to the names of Tole and Vusa”.

The states would call seven witnesses, among them a senior Central Intelligence Organisation officer, Asher Walter Tapfumaneyi, police Senior Assistant Commissioner Simon Nyathi and Chief Superintendent Peter Magwenzi.

On June 29, the second case of alleged insurgency would be heard in the same court.

Regis Mujeye, freelance journalist Shadreck Andrison Manyere, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s former aide Gandhi Mudzingwa, MDC-T security director Kisimusi Dhlamini and party members Zacharia Nkomo, Chinoto Zulu, and Mapfumo Garutsa, would be facing five counts of twice bombing Harare Central Police Station, Manyame River Bridge and Rail Bridge and Harare CID headquarters at Morris Depot.

The last case would be tried in the High Court on July 20.

Manuel Chinanzvavana, Zimbabwe Peace Project director Jestina Mukoko, Audrey Zimbudzana, Brodrick Takawira and Pieta Kaseke would stand trial on allegations that between April 2008 and October 31 2008 they recruited Ricardo Hwasheni to undergo military training in Botswana for purposes of banditry in Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, the full bench of the Supreme Court would on June 25 hear the case of Mukoko and other political abductees in which they complain that their constitutional rights were infringed by their alleged abduction last year, lengthy unlawful detention, treatment during detention [including torture] and the State’s failure to take appropriate action against those responsible while at the same time vigorously pursuing criminal charges against the abductees.  

The court would be asked to stop the prosecution of the abductees until the case against their alleged kidnappers had been fully investigated and prosecutions mounted against those responsible.


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