Court ends persecution of Markham over anti-govt protest

HARARE Magistrate Usheunesu Matova on Tuesday 12 November 2019 set
free Harare North constituency legislator Hon. Allan Norman Markham,
who was charged with committing public violence during an
anti-government demonstration held in January to protest against the
unilateral hike in the price of fuel.

Hon. Markham’s trial was scheduled to commence at Harare Magistrates
Court on Tuesday 12 November 2019 after suffering a false start on
Monday 28 October 2019, when he first appeared in court.

The opposition MDC-Alliance party legislator, who was represented by
Obey Shava of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, was charged with
committing public violence as defined in Section 36 of the Criminal
Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

Prosecutors claimed that Hon. Markham disturbed the peace, security or
order of the public when he on 14 January 2019 together with some
unknown people drove his vehicle to Dust Hatcliffe market in Hatcliffe
high-density suburb, where he allegedly addressed some people in Shona
stating that; “Yava nguva yedu yekudzorera mapurisa nemasoja
arikunyanya kutirova,” which was translated to mean; “It’s now our
time to revenge police and soldiers who are beating us.”

The State charged that Hon. Markham left the marketplace, where some
unknown people burnt some flammable materials and the legislator was
seen by one Ketai Mashuta burning a carpark in Hatcliffe suburb before
fleeing.

But on Tuesday 12 November 2019 Magistrate Matova removed Hon. Markham
from remand after State witnesses once again failed to appear in
court, where the legislator’s trial was scheduled to commence.

Magistrate Matova advised prosecutors to proceed by issuing summons
against Hon. Markham once the State has put its house in order and if
prosecutors intend to prosecute him on public violence charges.