High Court Judge Orders Immediate Release Of Mthwakazi Leaders

Last week another Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Maphios Cheda granted three MLF leaders Charles Thomas, John Gazi and Paul Siwela US$2000 bail each, but the state prosecution team led by Whisper Mabhaudi blocked it using Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (CPEA) saying that they want appeal to the Supreme Court against bail granting. The state team also claimed that police investigations were still going on the treason case.

However on Thursday morning High Court Judge Nicholas Mathonsi rejected state application for appeal to the Supreme Court and ordered the release of Thomas and Gazi. Justice Mathonsi only gave the state permission to appeal against Siwela’s bail at the Supreme Court since he has another pending case under Public Order Security Act (POSA) which occurred in 2004.

This means of the three MLF leaders only Siwela will remain detained at the notorious Khami Maximum Remand prison until the state appeal to the Supreme Court against his bail.

Speaking to Radio VOP after the Thursday High Court judgment one of the MLF lawyers Matshobana Ncube said: “We are delighted by the court judgment today but regarding the issue of Siwela we have to first wait and see what the state’s next move is.”

Siwela, Gazi and Thomas were arrested early this month in different locations of Bulawayo and charged with treason after found distributing MLF flyers calling for the separation of Matebeleland region from the whole of Zimbabwe.

The militant and radical MLF was launched in January this year and is advocating for the independence of the Matabeleland region located in the southern part of Zimbabwe saying the Ndebele speaking people of have been marginalised by the government for too long and also face discrimination every day at work places and tertiary institutions.

The call for Matabeleland secession from Zimbabwe appeared to have been encouraged by events in South Sudan where people there voted overwhelmingly to break away from mainland Sudan in a referendum.