HARARE – Harare magistrate Barbra Chimboza yesterday freed 74 protesters accused of burning State-owned vehicles during an anti-President Robert Mugabe demonstration dubbed #MyZimbabwe last year.
The 74 — together with freelance journalist James Jemwa — were acquitted following a successful application by their attorneys Harrison Nkomo and Trust Maanda for discharge at the close of the State case.
Chimboza ruled that State witnesses were not credible as they failed to identify any of the accused persons, also charged for looting Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko’s Choppies supermarket.
“During trial, the State led four witnesses and they failed to recognise any of the accused persons. One of the witnesses claimed he knew some of the accused persons but could not identify them in court. That was detrimental to the State case and no reasonable court would secure a conviction based on the evidence that was presented in court,” she ruled.
Another group arrested on the same day, including #Tajamuka spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi and 13 other activists, has also been charged with public violence.
Mkwananzi and his accomplices have since filed applications for refusal of further remand because no State witnesses, just like their co-accused’s case, have turned out for trial.