Masvingo Courts Under Heavy Guard Ahead of MDC Officials Trial

The MDC-T officials are being charged for disrupting a rally organised by self-styled war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda in Bikita in August last year.

The seven MDC officials to stand trial are Masvingo Urban MP Tongai Matutu, Bikita West MP Heya Shoko, Edmore Marima (Bikita East), Zaka North’s Ernest Mudavanhu, Bikita South’s Jani Varandeni, Senator Misheck Marava and MDC-T information and publicity secretary for Bikita, Vincent Jaricha.

Matutu was last year convicted of assaulting Chief Serima in Gutu and fined US$100 or 25 days in jail.

“The Central Intelligence Organisation operatives stormed the court Thursday last week and moved in every office and were just searching documents randomly. Court employees were just stunned by their
behavior,” a source told Radio VOP on Tuesday.

“After that, they approached the regional prosecutor, Mirirai Shumba, and scolded him, saying the court was being taken as a crèche, yet it is was supposed to be a security area. They ordered that armed Prison guards be stationed at the courts to guard the premises,” said a source.

Mirirai Shumba refused to comment on the reasons behind the deployment of armed prison guards.

“You see, the trial of the MDC-T officials in on this week. If they are given an unfavourable ruling, their supporters can demonstrate at the court or become rowdy, this is what Zanu (PF) wants to avoid,” said a source in the judicial system.

Recently, regional magistrate Oliver Mudzongachiso, a war veteran, was forced to recuse himself from a matter involving MDC-T legislator for Nyanga North, Douglas Mwonzora, after he said in a bar that he will ‘convict MDC-T members who are puppets of the West’.

Mwonzora, who is also a lawyer,is representing the seven MDC-T officials being charged under section 44 (b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly disrupting a public meeting that was meant to be addressed by Sibanda on August 7 at Makotore business centre in Bikita.