CHIREDZI, August 7, 2014 – The 29 Chingwizi villagers who were
arrested last weekend and charged with public violence have
intensified their freedom bid after their lawyers on Thursday filed an
application for bail.
In their bid to liberate the villagers, the lawyers had on Tuesday
first challenged the lawfulness of their arrest and their subsequent
detention arguing that several of their constitutional rights were
violated during the dragnet capture conducted by the police on Sunday
On Wednesday, the lawyers filed an application challenging the
placement of their clients on remand on the basis that there was no
reasonable suspicion that they had committed an offence and that the
State had failed to indicate what each and everyone of the 29
villagers did so as to link them to the commission of the offence.
However, Chiredzi Magistrate Tayegwa Chibanda on Wednesday and
Thursday dismissed the two applications leaving the lawyers to file
the bail application.
In their bail application, the lawyers Blessing Nyamaropa, Phillip
Shumba, Collin Maboke and Martin Mureri charged that the State had
failed to submit compelling reasons to justify the continued detention
of the 29 villagers who include an 84 year-old man, two teenagers and
The lawyers also proposed that the State, which opposed bail on the
basis that the 29 villagers could abscond as they were not permanent
residents of Chingwizi but just being kept in a transit camp could
have its fears allayed by the imposition of stringent bail conditions
such as reporting to the police once every week, paying a $20 deposit
and not interfere with State witnesses.
Magistrate Chibanda then reserved his ruling on the bail application
to Friday 08 August 2014.
Meanwhile, some of the detained Chingwizi villagers’ health is at risk
after going for almost one week without accessing their
anti-retroviral drugs after they were arrested by the police.
During the bail application, the lawyers raised concern that one of
the detainees Collin Tandare, who is a single parent had left her two
children including one under the age of two years unattended and who
were reportedly missing.
The State also attempted to justify the incarceration of 84 year-old
Kandros Purazeni, who is a village head and Ellen Muteiwa, who is
detained with her baby aged one-year eight months including some
villagers who could not be linked to the alleged public violence as
they were of poor health and living in their tents or were out of
Chingwizi transit camp when the alleged offence was committed.