Rights Lawyers End Detention Ordeal For Chingwizi Villager

Chiredzi, 03 September 5, 2014 – A Magistrate has ended a 33-day
detention ordeal for Sophia Tagwirei, one of the Chingwizi internally
displaced persons who had been in detention since last month after
being charged with committing public violence.
Tagwirei was freed on bail on Friday after the State sanctioned and
consented to the release of the 39 year-old Chingwizi villager after
conceding that she was not being linked to the commission of the
offence of committing public violence.
Magistrate Tayengwa Chibanda ordered Tagwirei to pay $30 bail, to
report once a fortnight at the nearest police station, continue
residing at her given residential address, not interfere with State
witnesses and to inform the Officer in Charge of the nearest police
post of her intention to leave Masvingo province.
Tagwirei, who was represented by Phillip Shumba, Martin Mureri and
Kennedy Masiye of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights becomes the 26th
Chingwizi villager to be freed after Magistrate Chibanda first granted
bail to 26 other villagers who were arrested on 03 August 2014 on
charges of public violence.
She had remained in prison after Chibanda denied her bail early last
month together with three other Chingwizi villagers, who the State
claimed masterminded the assault of police officers and burnt police
vehicles and rifles when the villagers allegedly protested against the
forced relocation of a clinic from Chingwizi Transit Camp to Nuanetsi
Ranch where they have now been moved to against their will and without
compensation as promised by the government.
Magistrate Chibanda also relaxed the reporting conditions for the 26
Chingwizi internally displaced people by allowing them to report once
a fortnight on Fridays at Muzhi police base near Nuanetsi Ranch rather
than walk several kilometers to Triangle Police Station for reporting
purposes as had been deemed by the court last month.
The alteration of the bail conditions came after the villagers’
lawyers applied for the alteration of their clients’ bail reporting
conditions as some of them were having to walk to Triangle Police
Station and hence causing some hardships as some of them are of an
advanced stage among them 84 year-old village head Kandros Purazeni.
The State then remanded the 30 villagers to 20 October when their
trial is scheduled to commence.
Respected local and international human rights watchdogs have
criticised President Robert Mugabe’s administration for failing to
respect international statutes that it signed in addressing the crisis
in Chingwizi where over 20 000 people were recently forcibly evicted
to Nuanetsi Ranch in Masvingo province.
The villagers were dumped on pieces of land by the government which
has failed to raise financial resources to compensate them as had been
pledged by President Mugabe’s ruling ZANU PF party.