MDC "Bandits" Trial to Start Monday

HARARE – The trial of 16 Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and human rights activists who are facing charges of banditry starts on Monday at the High Court.

Four of the 16 activists will appear at the High Court to answer to charges of contravening provisions of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

They are MDC’s Mashonaland West Women’s Assembly chairperson, Concillia Chinanzvavana, Zvimba South district chairperson, Fidelis Chiramba aged 72 years, district Women’s Assembly secretary, Violet Mupfuranhewe and her husband Collen Mutemagau, who is the district youth chairperson.

On June 29, the second case of alleged insurgency will be heard at the same court.

Ghandi Mudzingwa, President Morgan Tsvangirai’s former aide, MDC director of security, Chris Dhlamini, Regis Mujeye, journalist Andrisson Manyere, Zacharia Nkomo, Chinoto Zulu and Mapfumo Garutsa, will face five counts of twice bombing Harare Central Police Station, Manyame River Bridge and Rail Bridge and Harare CID headquarters at Morris Depot.

At least 40 MDC activists including two year-old Nigel Mutemagau, were abducted in pre-dawn raids at their homes between October and December last year.

They were tortured for weeks and were only brought to court in December, weeks after their illegal detention and were charged with trumped-up charges of banditry.

However, three of them Terry Musona, Lloyd Tarumbwa and Fani Tembo, who were abducted in October in Banket were never brought to court and only released in February after being kept in isolation.

The State is now trying to use the three as State witnesses when the trial resumes on Monday.

On Tuesday the trio was forcefully taken from their homes by three State security agents and taken to the Attorney-General’s (AG) office in Harare, where they told that they should testify against other MDC activists or they would face unspecified consequences.

Tembo is a Councillor for Ward 22, Zvimba South and MDC district organising secretary, Tarumbwa is a coordinator for the same ward while Musona is the Mashonaland West provincial vice secretary.