The three MLF senior executive members Charles Thomas, John Gazi and Paul Siwela were arrested three weeks ago in different locations in Bulawayo and were charged with treason after found distributing party flyers.
On Monday their bail hearing kicked off at Bulawayo High Court before Justice Nicholas Ndou. Speaking in High Court the state prosecution team led by Martha Cheda said the MLF are a bunch of criminals with several criminal records dating back to 1982.
Cheda said Gazi was convicted in 1982 for armed robbery and was jailed for 12 years, while Thomas was on warrant of arrest on charges of sleeping with an under aged girl in 1987.
Cheda also said the third applicant (Siwela) was convicted of smuggling in Hwange in 1989 and has a pending case for contravening Public Order and Security Act (POSA).
“Therefore my Lord the three applicants can’t be granted bail as there are a bunch of unrepentant criminals,” she said.
Cheda added that the state had overwhelming evidence that will lead to the conviction of the three MLF leaders.
However in defence, MLF lawyers led by Advocate Lucas Nkomo, shot down the state ‘s claims saying that the case against their clients were so weak and Cheda was trying to boost it by coming up with mysterious previous criminal records.
“My Lord it is my submission that the state has realised that the treason case against my clients is so weak and are trying by all means to boost with these new claims.
“The state is failing to bring witnesses to court and further to that are failing to provide the overwhelming evidence which they claim to have against my clients .I see no reason why the three applicants should not be granted bail in this case,” said Nkomo.
Justice Ndou reserved judgment on the bail application until Wednesday saying he needs time to go through the both state and defence submissions.
The three MLF leaders are at Khami Maximum Remand prison where there are being kept in solitary confinements.
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.