Chiredzi, October 20, 2014 – THIRTY Chingwizi villagers will have to wait longer to know their fate after a Zimbabwean court postponed their trial on charges of committing public violence to next month.
The trial of the villagers, who were moved to Chingwizi Transit Camp early this year after being displaced from their homes following the over-flooding of the Tokwe-Mukosi Dam in Masvingo province, had been scheduled to commence on Monday at Chiredzi Magistrates Court.
However, their trial was postponed to mid-November owing to the unavailability of the trial Magistrate, Tayengwa Chibanda meaning the villagers will have to endure some more time before they can discern whether they are innocent or not.
The Chingwizi villagers, most of whom are out of custody on bail except three, were arrested and charged in early August for committing public violence in contravention of Section 36 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
Zimbabwean authorities claim that the 30 villagers who include an 84 year-old village head Kandros Purazeni and are represented by attorneys from the country’s leading legal defence group, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights masterminded an assault on police officers and burnt police vehicles and rifles when they protested against the forced relocation of a clinic from Chingwizi Transit Camp to Nuanetsi Ranch, where thousands of the flood victims have been forced to move to.
Apart from grappling with legal battles, the displaced villagers are also facing food shortages after the World Food Programme recently stopped providing humanitarian aid to them although the aid agency indicated that the flood victims still needed support until the next crop harvest in March next year.