Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
The trial of four suspects who were last Wednesday arrested in connection with suspected rhino poaching in Matopo National Park failed to start at the Kezi Magistrate Court yesterday after police and Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority witnesses failed to show up.
The park is located in Matabeleland South and the matter was postponed to January 27. The suspects are Clement Mazhandu (39), Shadreck Kuvarega (39), Brighton Nkosilathi Nyathi (26) and Munyaradzi Mwonzora, young brother to the MDC-T secretary-general Mr Douglas Mwonzora.
MDC-T legislator for Tsholotsho (proportional representation), Ms Lwazi Sibanda has since been questioned by police in connection with the matter.
The suspects’ lawyer, Mr Kholwani Ngwenya, said yesterday that his clients will apply for refusal of further remand at their next court appearance.
“The state has no evidence against my clients and there is no reason for them to continue denying them their liberty,” he said. “The police and the national parks officials failed to show up at the court today, delaying the wheels of justice.”
Mr Ngwenya said the four were released and have to come to court on summons.
They were arrested by rangers in the park on Tuesday after they were suspected of tracking a rhinoceros spoor and were handed over to the police.
It is alleged that Ms Sibanda was earlier on spotted in the same park conducting surveillance prior to the arrival of Mwonzora and his accomplices.