six MDC-T activists believed to be linked to Thokozani Khupe’s breakaway faction were acquitted on charges of burning a bus hired by their rivals at a rally held in Bulawayo last month.
BY SILAS NKALA
The activists were freed on Wednesday after their lawyer, Kholwani Ngwenya applied for discharge at the close of the State case.
The six were accused of burning a T&H Bus hired by Nelson Chamisa’s supporters to a rally held at White City Stadium on April 7.
Clifford Sibanda (30), Dumisani Moyo (30), Bongani Phiri (28), Thandolwenkosi Moyo (24) Tatenda Nyandoro (35) and Darlington Siziba all of Mzilikazi in Bulawayo denied the charge of public violence when they appeared before Western Commonage magistrate Lungile Ncube.
Ngwenya, on their behalf, filed an application for discharge, stating that the State has failed to prove a prima facie case against them and evidence the State relied on was far from linking them to the commission of the offence.
The magistrate granted the application and acquitted them.
The court heard that on April 7 and at White City Stadium in Bulawayo, Lameck Kusosa parked the bus along the Hyde Park Road opposite Mabuthweni Police Station. He sat in the bus waiting to ferry MDC Alliance supporters to Gweru after the rally.
It is the State’s case that the driver saw one man spraying a liquid substance from a 5-litre container on the body of the bus and the liquid splashed into the bus through the rear left window.
The Kusosa went to investigate and saw the bus’ front on fire.
He allegedly used soil to put out the fire and he saw some men running away and also saw a gallon of petrol dumped in front of the bus.
The court heard that the suspects got into a Honda Fit and sped off.
Some members of the party gave chase and blocked the Honda Fit, leading to the arrest of the six suspects.
Bus curtains, rear left side of the bus were allegedly damaged by the fire and tainted by smoke.
The damage was valued at $2 500