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» » » Bail for 7 Chiredzi MDC Alliance activists

…as Kurauone gets remanded in custody

Beatific Gumbwanda

Chiredzi Town Council vice chairperson Ropafadzo Makumire, former MDC Alliance proportional representation Member of Parliament (MP) Machirairwa Mugidho and five other activists arrested in connection with the July 31 protests were today, August 03, released on $5 000 each by Magistrate Joy Chikodzore.

The other activists are James Kampota, Itai Melania Makara, Victor Boko, Alexander Simbi and Simon Mupapuri.

They face charges of participating in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, in breach of peace and engage in bigotry as defined in section 37(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 09.23.

They were represented by Martin Mureri of Matutu and Mureri Legal Practitioners and Emmanuel Chibudu of Kwirira and Magwaliba Law Chambers who carried instructions from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).

Represented by David Tafangenyasha, the State alleged that on the July 31 at around 15:30hrs, the seven accused persons in the company of their accomplices who were still at large, gathered outside Edgars Store holding placards inscribed 'No to corruption, ED must go' without any authority.

The matter came to light when a photograph circulated on social media platform leading to the arrest of Mugidho, Makumire, Makara and Boko late in the evening. The three others handed themselves to the police two days after the first arrests.

The picture in question has twelve people.

Investigating Officer, Detective Sergeant Collins Mbaura opposed bail arguing that there were chances the suspects could incite other to revolt againstgovernment as their initial motive for demonstrating had failed to materialise.

He also said the accused persons were likely to interfere with State witnesses whose statements were yet to be recorded.

The defence lawyers, however, criticised the State for failing to record statements of witnesses, and for failure to indicate the source of the picture in question as well as the photographer.

Chibudu further argued that the State had failed to provide solid evidence of the case and only based its case on a potentially doctored image.

In Masvingo, MDC Alliance national youth organising secretary Godfrey Kurauone, who is also Masvingo Urban Ward 4 Councillor, was denied bail by Magistrate Patience Madondo.

Kurauone faces two charges related to the 31 July protests: Criminal nuisance; circulating a video in which people sang 'Kana tatenderwa naMwari kubvisa Mnangagwa ichava nhoroondo', and obstructing movement; blocking traffic & burning tyres along the Mashava-Zvamahande Rd.

Prior to his arrest on July 31, Kurauone had been out on bail on charges of undermining the authority of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.


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