Fungai Jachi Court Correspondent
Highfield East legislator Eric Murai (MDC-T) and 11 members of the opposition party were on Monday acquitted of public violence charges by Mbare magistrate Ms Shelly Zvenyika.
Murai and his co-accused had, through their lawyer Mr Tonderai Bhatasara, applied for discharge at the close of the State case.
Mr Bhatasara argued that the State had failed to prove a case against the accused persons and continuing with the matter was a waste of the court’s time.
In her ruling, Ms Zvenyika said the State had failed to prove a prima facie case against Murai (44), Memory Ncube (33), Aqueline Sanganai (68), Erenia Chiradza (54), Stella Manyanga (64), Herbert Mwadira (18), Tafadzwa Kambala (25), Sinikiwe Mandava (53), Shepherd Munyadzi (40), Michael Matemai (67), Farai Kushata (42), Clyde Mushamba (30), Givemore Muparahwa (38) and Memory Mudyabumhe (46).
“The State witnesses had many inconsistencies in their evidence. For instance, James Chimombe said there were 500 people at the rally and other witnesses said there were about 50 people present,” she said.
Ms Zvenyika also said the State failed to prove how the 12 accused took part in the alleged violence and as a result the State had no case against them.
She said the State failed to bring in witnesses who had their houses damaged as a result of the violence, thus there was no evidence to show that the alleged violence indeed took place.
However, two of the 14 accused persons – Rutendo Bvute (29) and Peter Mafara (33) – will be put to their defence as they were identified by Constable Obey Muzivi as perpetrators of the offence.
In his testimony, Const Muzivi said he had arrested the two after witnessing them hurling stones at the police.
Resultantly, Bvute and Mafara will be back in court tomorrow for their defence case.
The 12 were alleged to have attended an unsanctioned rally in Hopley where they stoned police officers who had been deployed to disperse them.
The alleged offence happened last year.
Meanwhile, Harare Civil Court magistrate Mrs Marehwanazvo Gofa yesterday ordered Zvimba East Member of Parliament Francis Mukwangwariwa to stop abusing his lover or risk being arrested for breaching a court order, reports Ivan Zhakata.
Mukwangwariwa was hauled before the court by his former lover, Sandra Chitauro, who claimed he abused her for terminating their relationship.
“Protection order is hereby granted and effective for five years,” Mrs Gofa said.
“Respondent is barred from making verbal and physical abuse to the applicant. He should keep peace with the applicant at all times.
“However, I have not barred him from visiting the respondent as there is no proof of divorce, but he should do so in peace until the two finalise their divorce properly according to the customary law.”
Chitauro, through her lawyer Anesu Bangidza from Tavenhave and Machingauta Legal Practitioners, had told the court that since she dumped Mukwangwariwa, he had been assaulting and abusing her.
She said the lawmaker threatened her with unspecified action often bragging about his alleged relationship with President Mugabe, saying nothing would befall him.
Chitauro also told the court that she gave Mukwangwariwa a divorce token as per customary law, but he kept on abusing her.
Mukwangwariwa refuted the allegations.
“This is a bare allegation and if it held any water then applicant would have furnished further details relating to the date and place where such occurred or would have at least explained how I abused her or what words I used to threaten her,” he said.
“In any event, if I had abused her, surely she would have reported to the police at some point, but it is clear from her application that she is not in a position to provide a police report case number or the name of an investigating officer to that effect because the alleged abuse never occurred.
“The applicant is merely stating my relationship with the President in order to gain ground, but at no point have I ever used that or even apprehended it to be a status that places me above the law.
“I am an honourable Member of Parliament who has sworn to abide by the Constitution and who fully understands that no one is above the law.”