Walter Nyamukondiwa Chinhoyi Bureau
Former Zanu-PF Mashonaland West provincial chairman and Hurungwe West constituency aspiring candidate, Mr Temba Mliswa, has been acquitted of theft and illegal possession of firearms charges.
The Chinhoyi magistrate Mr Felix Mawadze acquitted Mr Mliswa on the grounds that the state failed to advance essential elements that proved theft or possession of the firearms.
Mr Mawadze said the state led by prosecutor Mr Herald Matura, failed to lead evidence to sustain a conviction.
Defence lawyer Mr Musindo Hungwe welcomed the development saying it was not surprising.
“We welcome the outcome of the case where the accused Mr Temba Mliswa has been acquitted on charges of stealing and illegally possessing firearms,” he said.
“Its hardly anything surprising as we knew the state case was manifestly weak.”
He said the case was politically driven and that the outcome proved that the wheels of justice were still turning. Mr Mliswa was arrested recently after eight assorted rifles were found at his Spring Farm in Karoi.
The evidence led showed that Mr Mliswa was not in possession of the firearms, but his employee Steadfind Mashiri led police detectives to a disused fowl run.
The magistrate said Mr Mashiri should be the one to be put to his defence to explain how he knew about the firearms. The complainant in the matter, Mr Myles Walter Hall, who lost his rifles sometime in 2007 said Mr Mliswa was not there when the firearms were stolen.
Mr Hall is said to have lost his rifles at his then Summerhill Farm in Mhangura.
Mr Mliswa said the acquittal was a welcome development.