MDC MP Cleared Off Kidnapping Charges

Mudiwa and his two co-accused persons Patricia Chikide Mwashuma and Takudzwa Mudiwa were convicted and sentenced to serve seven years in prison by Mutare Magistrate Hlekani Mwayera in 2009 for allegedly kidnapping a 12 year-old girl and isolating her in a room without food in 2007.

Magistrate Mwayera convicted Mudiwa, Mwashuma and Takudzwa on the strength of the girl’s claim to have positively identified the MP and his co-accused as her alleged kidnappers.

The kidnap case arose prior to the 2008 March Parliamentary elections in which Mudiwa was challenging ZANU PF’s Christopher Mushohwe in Mutare West House of Assembly constituency.

But High Court Justice Ben Hlatshwayo who sat with Judge President Justice George Chiweshe on Thursday 2 November 2010 quashed Mudiwa and his associates’ conviction and set aside their sentence after ruling that Magistrate Mwayera erred and misdirected herself by placing the onus on Mudiwa, Takudzwa and Mwashuma to prove their innocence.

The ruling by the High Court Judges followed an appeal against both conviction and sentence which was filed by Mudiwa’s lawyer Advocate Linos Mazonde.

Justice Hlatshwayo and Justice Chiweshe ruled that the investigating officers in the case had failed to interview some witnesses who were mentioned in court.

Mudiwa becomes the second MDC legislator to be acquitted in recent weeks after High Court Judges Justice Yunus Omerjee and Justice Chiweshe annulled the conviction and sentence of Chipinge East legislator Mathias Mlambo who had imprisoned for 12 months for allegedly obstructing the course of justice and inciting violence at a funeral of an MDC member.

Mudiwa was suspended from Parliament in July 2009 by the Clerk of Parliament, Austin Zvoma, despite appealing against his conviction and sentence.

He is now expected to resume attending parliamentary sessions and executing his duties as a Member of Parliament.