Makoni Trial Deferred

Bindura,– The trial of Mavambo-Kusile-Dawn (MKD) leader and losing presidential candidate in March 2008 presidential election, Simba Makoni, was on Tuesday deferred to next month.

Makoni is facing charges of allegedly addressing a political meeting without police authority during his campaigns, was on  Tuesday deferred to next month.  

Makoni, who broke away from ZANU-PF early last year to form a loose coalition of independent candidates, all of whom lost dismally against ZANU-PF and the two Movement for Democratic Change factions, briefly appeared before a Bindura magistrate here but was advised to come back to court on October 08.

Police re-opened his case in June this year, a time when he launched his political project into a fully fledged political party. His trial kicked off Tuesday in the mining town, 19 months after thealleged offence.

“The courts wants to look at the section of POSA he is being charged under so the trial was deferred to 8 October 2008,” said Denford Magora, the spokesman for MKD leader.

During the trial, the defence raised an objection that Makoni was being charged under sections of POSA that no longer existed.

“The mess surrounding this case shows just how ill-prepared the State is. They do not even know their own laws and are seeking to persecute
people under sections that do not exist," said Magora.

Makoni now claims his  trial was violating his freedom of speech, assembly and movement.

Makoni is being charged under the notorious Public Order and Security Act (POSA), a piece of legislation human rights activists claim is draconian and was allegedly being used by the state to persecute perceived opponents.

Court papers at hand show that the charges against him stemmed from a meeting attended by about 400 people and addressed by the former  Finance  Minister on March 05 last year, in the run-up to the controversial presidential elections.

The state has lined up two ZANU PF members and councillors Henry Magundani and Tendai Kuzvidza and four police officers stationed at Glendale Police Station, namely Albert Chifamba, Johane Chimbari, Oddington Chonze and Jacob Pedzai, to testify against Makoni.

Emmanuel Muchenga, who has handled several cases involving MDC officials and activists, including the party’s deputy minister for agriculture designate Roy Bennett in Mutare, would prosecute the matter when the trial finally opens.

According to the state Makoni organised the public gathering without giving due notice to the police as required under a certain clause in POSA.

He allegedly sent a team to advertise the political gathering using a loud hailer and about 400 people responded and gathered at Tsungubvi Bus Terminus in Glendale.

Makoni, according to the state, later arrived at the scene driving a Mitsubishi Pajero registration number AAJ 4270 and addressed the gathering for about 10 minutes using the same hailer.

The former executive secretary of Southern African Development Community (SADC) officially launched his long-awaited opposition party, Mavambo-Kusile-Dawn (MKD) in July this year with promises of delivering real change to the country’s treacherous political landscape.

In the controversial March 2008, in which he was supported and endorsed by the Arthur Mutambara led smaller faction of the MDC, Makoni polled slightly over eight percent of the vote while President Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai respectively garnered 43 percent and 48 percent of the votes cast.

His party has since split with another group forming its own political party over allegations of corruption.