Three MDC MP’s remain in custody

Broadwin Nyaude (MP for Bindura South), Mathias Mlambo (Chipinge East) and Pearson Mungofa (Highfield East) were all arrested on the day MDC MP’s heckled Robert Mugabe during his speech marking the official opening of Parliament last Tuesday. They were taken into custody after armed police raided Harare’s Quality International Hotel around 4 am on Tuesday claiming they were looking for MDC MP’s on a ‘wanted list’. The day before, Shuwa Mudiwa the MP for Mutare West and Eliah Jembere from Epworth were arrested before they were sworn in as members of Parliament. Another MP Trevor Saruwaka (Mutasa Central) was also arrested.

Mudiwa was released on the same day after a few hours of detention. Mlambo appeared in court last week and was granted bail, while Jembere faces a $200 dollar fine imposed by the Harare regional court on Monday for failing to appear. Jembere was placed on the police ‘wanted list’ allegedly for raping the wife of an MDC councilor and is expected back in court on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Nyaude and Mungofa are both still being held pending high court appeals by the state, while Saruwaka was denied bail when he appeared in court last week and is still behind bars. Lawyer for the MDC, Alec Muchadehama told Newsreel that Mungofa was granted bail on Tuesday after spending more than a week in detention. However, despite the hefty $5000 fine placed on him by the magistrate for being a ‘propagandist,’ Muchadehama explained the prosecutor has approached the high court to appeal the bail ruling. Mungofa is now expected to remain a prisoner until his court appearance on the 9th of September.

The MDC has accused ZANU PF of trying to regain its parliamentary majority by securing the criminal convictions of its MP’s. The party said it knew of a plot to drag their parliamentary members to court and secure criminal convictions that would disqualify them as MPs. Under the country’s laws an MP who gets a jail sentence of more than 6 months for a criminal offence can no longer be, or stand as an MP. The Tsvangirai MDC holds 100 seats in parliament, the breakaway Mutambara MDC 10, ZANU PF 99 while 1 independent MP takes the number to 210. ZANU PF would need to take back more than 12 seats to regain its majority. – With SW Radio