Mthwakazi Leaders Have A Case To Answer – Magistrate

Bulawayo, – Bulawayo Regional Magistrate John Masimba on Friday dismissed refusal of remand application by the Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF) leaders saying they have a case to answer.

MLF senior executive members Paul Siwela, John Gazi and Charles Gumbo were arrested last week Friday and are facing treason charges after they were found distributing party pamphlets.

However a refusal remand hearing kicked off on Tuesday before Magistrate Masimba and on Friday he dismissed the application by the three leaders saying they had a case to answer.

“After I have gone through  the  evidence submitted by  both the state  and the defence, I have no doubt that the  accused  are senior  members of   MLF and were found  in possession  of pamphlets carrying messages  which  incite  members of the  public to  rise  against   the  government.

“The accused have a case to answer therefore I dismiss the application for refusal of remand by the defence,”said Masimba.

Speaking to Radio VOP after the ruling MLF leaders’ lawyer Advocate Lucas Nkomo said he would challenge the  magistrate ‘s ruling in the High Court.

"We  differ with  the  magistrate’s  findings ,the issue here  is not about   the  pamphlets  but  about  the  meeting  which the state said my  clients   held on 1 March. Anywhere we are going to the High Court,” said Nkomo.

The three MLF leaders who were clad in prison garb were remanded in custody to 25 March and sent back to Khami Maximum Remand prison.

The militant and radical MLF was launched in January this year and is advocating for the independence of the Matabeleland region located in the southern part of Zimbabwe saying the Ndebele speaking people of have been marginalised by the government for too long and also face discrimination every day at work places and tertiary institutions.

The call for Matabeleland secession from Zimbabwe appeared to have been encouraged by events in South Sudan where people there voted overwhelmingly to break away from mainland Sudan in a referendum.