Ministers Seek Consolidated Trial Over Abduction Claims

The ministers who include former State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa, co-Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi and former co-Home Affairs Minister Giles Mutsekwa want the cases brought up against them and 11 top state security agents by more than 10 victims of abduction to be consolidated into three clusters before trial can commence in the High Court.
In their application, which was filed by Harare lawyer Farai Mutamangira the ministers argued that all of the various matters that were instituted by the abductees have already passed the pre-trial conference stage and await the set down before various judges only with the exception of two matters involving two Norton residents Mapfumo Garutsa and Regis Mujeyi, whose matters had been set down before Justice Chiweshe.
The ministers want the matters of all the abductees who are suing the ministers and the state security agents for over $1 million each to be consolidated into three clusters according to the similarities of their circumstances. He said the matters to be consolidated involve the same parties and similar evidence will be led among other things which make it convenient for the matters to be consolidated.
Mutamangira said it would be expedient and convenient for the various matters to be set down in the clusters since the abductees allege similar facts and all claim that their arrest was unlawful.
He argued that the abductees in the various matters are all represented by the same legal teams and it would be unfortunate for the same legal counsel engaged in the same matter having so many parties thereto to come to court on an occasional or on record 18 or 19 times.
Mutamangira wants the first cluster to involve Fidelis Chiramba, Violet Mupfuranhewe, Nigel Mutemagawu, Collen Mutemagawu, Concillia Chinanzvavana, Emmanuel Chinanzvavana, Pieta Kaseke and Tawanda Bvumo while the second cluster should be made up of Jestina Mukoko, Broderick Takawira, Pascal Gonzo, Audrey Zimbudzana.
Mapfumo Garutsa, Regis Mujeyi, Andrison Manyere, Kisimusi Dhlamini, Gandhi Mudzingwa, Zacharia Nkomo and Chinoto Zulu should make up the third cluster.
Justice Chiweshe told Mutamangira and the abductees’ lawyer Charles Kwaramba, who was assisted by Rose Hanzi that the ministers’ application should be heard and determined in a month’s time from 13 September 2010.
Kwaramba will soon file his response to Mutamangira’s application.
The abductees are demanding $1.2 million each in damages which they suffered after they were abducted by state security agents and charged with committing acts of terrorism and banditry.
The abductees, who were accused of receiving training in Botswana and bombing police stations, were kept incommunicado during the period October 2008 until 22 December 2008 when they were brought to a police station.