No State witness in Mkwananzi trial

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HARARE – Anti-President Robert Mugabe activist Promise Mkwananzi yesterday notified the court of his intentions to file for further remand refusal because there are no State witnesses for trial to progress.


He — together with 21 other activists — appeared before magistrate Lazini Ncube facing public violence charges following bloody clashes between protesters and the law enforcement agents last year.


The activists, represented by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights’ Tonderai Bhatasara, are accused of inciting public violence under the political pressure group #Tajamuka, which reportedly led to the torching of State vehicles.


They were remanded to April 19.


Mkwananzi argues that on the day that the motor vehicles were torched, he was attending a workshop at Sapes Trust in Belgravia, Harare.


He said that the workshop started at 8am and ended at 1pm.


“After lunch, appellant (Mkwananzi) stayed behind and continued with informal discussions with other participants including . . . Ibbo Mandaza, a renowned academic,” the court heard.


He told the court that he left the venue at 15:30hrs and walked home, while in the company of Makomborero Haruzivishe.


Mkwananzi said he never set foot in town on the day because he knew that the demonstration was organised by MDC youths under the #MyZimbabwe banner and was not a member of the MDC or of any political party.


“The police searched his mobile phone without his consent or a warrant and infringed his Constitutional right to privacy,” the court heard.


Another accused person, Bruce Usvisvo a vendor, said he was also not involved in politics. He claims police officers picked him up from his home without being advised of charges that he was facing.


Usvisvo said on the day in question commotion broke out when he was in Choppies Supermarket buying groceries and recalled how began throwing stones before he bolted out of the shop.


Prosecutors said Mkwananzi and his group accused vice president Phelekezela Mphoko of causing the cash crunch by stealing money from banks to finance his Choppies business and pay hotel bills.


It is alleged that on the day in question, Mkwananzi and his team of 21 individuals went to Choppies Supermarket wearing T-shirts inscribed Tajamuka, where they sang revolutionary songs demanding the closure of the shop.


The court further heard that Mkwananzi and his team picked up stones and avocado pears from vendors and started throwing them into Choppies Supermarket.


They reportedly damaged groceries, tills and shelves worth $1 000, before fleeing from the scene.

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