State Blocks Release of Arrested 13 MDC T Officials

The group includes Farai Chinova, Islam Magosi, and Kimberly Bhebhe were arrested alongside 10 of the party’s Beit Bridge District Coordinating Committee members including two Councillors for holding a public gathering without police authorisation.

Magistrate Auxillia Chiumburu had granted $50 bail each and ordered the accused to reside at their given addresses but state counsel immediately invoked Section 121 which allows the state seven days in which to oppose bail with the High Court while accused persons remain in custody.

In opposing bail the state argued that the offence the accused had allegedly committed was politically motivated and the accused risked being attacked by Zanu (PF) supporters if released on bail.

Under POSA, any political gathering that is to be held publicly should be sanctioned by the police.

Through their lawyer Patrick Tererai of Masawi and Partners the group denies the charge saying they did not hold a public gathering or rally, the matter was remanded to the 12th of March.

Ironically Clarence Madhuku, Godfrey Koster, Sally Mlambo and Limukani Nyoni arrested Saturday in Gwanda on similar charges were released without being charged Monday afternoon having spent two days in police cells.

High court judge Justice Nicholas Mathonsi last month reprimanded the Attorney General’s office (AG) for its continued invocation of Section 121 in a ruling where the AG opposed bail to Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ) advocacy officers.

Justice Nicholas Mathonsi said unjustified invocation of Section 121 brought the administration of justice into disrepute.

“The abuse of Section 121 to keep persons in custody who have been granted bail has tendered to bring the administration of justice into disrepute,” read the judgement.