Judge describes Robert Mugabe's case on Mangoma as "weak"

Harare – High Court Judge Justice Samuel Kudya on Tuesday ripped through the State case against Energy and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma describing it as “weak” as he granted bail to the troubled Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Deputy-Treasurer-General.\r\n

Justice Kudya ruled that the State’s case against Mangoma, who was arrested and detained last week for alleged criminal abuse of duty appears to be weak and would not induce Mangoma to abscond as had been feared by the State.

But it seems to me that in the absence of evidence that the applicant personally benefited from the deal, his actions were prompted by a national crisis. As Minister responsible for energy all Zimbabweans looked up to him to provide a quick solution to the problem. His well meaning response to a national emergency may prove highly mitigatory.

"Courts do accept that at times paths to hell are often paved by good intentions. Those good intentions may prove highly mitigatory,” said Justice Kudya as he delivered his ruling in a packed court room on Thursday afternoon.

Justice Kudya ordered Mangoma to deposit US$5 000 with the clerk of court and to report once every Wednesday to Marlborough Police Station. The MDC treasurer-general was also ordered to surrender his passport, continue residing at his given residential address and not to interfere with witnesses.

Senior MDC officials and ministers among Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe, Nelson Chamisa, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, Gorden Moyo, Tapiwa Mashakada and Heneri Dzinotyiwei were present when ruling was delivered.

The bail ruling came after Mangoma’s lawyer Selby Hwacha filed a bail application which was opposed by the State, which was represented by Chris Mutangadura, the chief law officer in the Attorney General’s Office.

Mangoma, who was charged with criminal abuse of duty as a public officer was arrested last Thursday at his offices.

The State accuse Mangoma of unlawfully abusing his office as Energy and Power Development Minister by ordering his subordinates to procure five million litres of diesel from a South African company, Nooa Petroleum without following tender procedures.

Meanwhile police were still holding 10 MDC officials and activists arrested at the party’s Harvest House headquarters on Sunday night without charge, the party’s spokesperson said Tuesday.

MDC-T spokesperson, Nelson Chamisa said no charges had been preferred by the police since the law enforcement agents picked up the 10 on Sunday. He said his party has already instructed their lawyers to know why the police arrested the officials and ensure that the 10 are released from police custody.

“No charges have been preferred to our officials arrested by police and we wonder why? Like any other MDC people who are arrested, they have no case to answer. These were simply boys and girls who were arrested at their party headquarters for no reason,” Chamisa said.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who is the leader of the MDC-T last week complained about the arrests of his party officials and activists in the past two months since the beginning of this year. The premier said the violence and arrests of his party activists were being orchestrated by state security institutions.

"From January 2011 up to today, we have seen an increase in incidences of violence and assaults on the people of Zimbabwe. This has included the destruction of people’s homes and property in Mbare and the displacement of 1 200 MDC cadres," Tsvangirai said.

"The violence in Mbare coincided with the massive deployment of soldiers to terrorise innocent civilians in the countryside. People are being force-marched to attend rallies and there has been an upsurge in cases of intimidation and State-sponsored violence in the countryside."

Tsvangirai said the clampdown on his party is reminiscent of 2008 deadly violence that led to over 200 of his supporters being killed towards the presidential run-off. He said Zanu (PF) supporters accused of the murders are yet to face any prosecution.

"Zanu (PF) cadres and securocrats who murdered people in the run-up to the 27 June election are roaming free and no criminal charges have been pressed against the murderers of Tichaona Chiminya and Talent Mabika and the other 200 victims of the 2008 violence," he said.