MDC MP remains in Chipinge prison
- From: Zvakanaka <lalapansi@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 18 Apr 2009 03:20:05 +0200
MDC MP remains in Chipinge prison
By Violet Gonda
17 April 2009
Mathias Mlambo, the MDC MP for Chipinge East, is being held in police
custody. He was arrested Monday for allegedly inciting violence at a funeral
of an MDC member who died recently. Magistrate Zuze said he did not have
time to study the bail submissions made by the legal teams and will only
give his ruling next Wednesday.
The MP was granted bail on Tuesday and was ordered to pay bail of US$10,
reside at his home, report once a week to police and not interfere with the
police. But he remains in Chipinge Remand Prison because of a disagreement
by the legal teams over his bail conditions.
His lawyer Langton Mhungu is arguing that his client is innocent and should
not be made to report once a week as this interferes with his work as an MP.
He also says it is impossible for him not to interfere with police because
the key witness is a police officer, who caused his arrest.
An altercation had erupted last Friday between ZANU PF and MDC supporters at
the funeral of the MDC member in Chipinge. It is alleged that ZANU PF
supporters came to the funeral and started mocking the MDC, resulting in a
fight breaking out. Mlambo says he was at the graveside burying the deceased
with other mourners and was not aware that a fight had started elsewhere at
the funeral. The police were called in and it is alleged that a police
officer discharged a firearm into the air causing a serious commotion.
Mlambo went to report the incident to the local police station, but he was
the one who ended up being detained. He was charged with obstructing or
defeating the course of justice and stands accused of preventing police
officers from arresting people who were involved in the altercation.
Hi lawyer said the people who were allegedly assaulted remain unknown and no
one else was apprehended.
The MP told his lawyer that when he tried to confront the police officer
after he discharged his firearm, the officer mockingly told him to go and
report the matter to his Prime Minister - referring to Morgan Tsvangirai.
The MDC spokesperson for Manicaland, Pishai Muchauraya, said the arrest of
the MP has nothing to do with alleged crimes committed but that there is
still an agenda by ZANU PF to harass the MDC. He said: "We also realised
that Mugabe is running parallel government structures, with his own court
systems, meant to just frustrate us."
The outspoken MDC MP said there is a big difference between what the chefs
are saying at the top and what is happening on the ground, where not much
has changed since the formation of the inclusive government two months ago.
"At the top there is talk of unity and inclusivity, but on the ground there
is exclusivity and impunity."
Meanwhile Muchauraya also said 12 MDC activists who were arrested in early
April on charges of extortion and assault in Buhera, were finally granted
bail of US$10 each on Friday.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said: "10 of the accused persons
are facing charges of extortion in that on 17 March 2009 and at Makumbe
Village, the accused persons threatened to assault one Alphas Nhachi for
having stolen their chickens during the 2008 presidential run-off elections
and recovered six chickens from Nhachi."
"The other two MDC members are facing allegations of assault in that they
assaulted one Philip Gundungwa, whom they accused of murdering their mother
during the 2008 presidential run-off election period."
The Human rights lawyers, led by Blessing Nyamaropa, report that the
political environment in Buhera remain tense and that some members of the
army who are still present in the area, are instigating the arrests instead
of the police. The group said army officials are reportedly giving
instructions to court officials on how they should treat suspects.
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