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Trial of CCC members opens

by Staff reporter
29 Jun 2022 at 07:41hrs | Views
FIVE CCC members accused of staging an illegal demonstration in Warren Park, Harare, during the national lockdown in 2020, yesterday denied the charges when their trial opened at the Harare Magistrates Court.

Joana Mamombe, Stanley Manyenga, Cecilia Chimbiri, Lovejoy Chitengu and Makomborero Haruzivishe, denied staging the illegal demonstration when they appeared before magistrate Mr Tinei Manwere.

They are charged with participating in a gathering with intent to commit public violence, or violating Covid-19 lockdown regulations.

Through their lawyer Mr Alec Muchadehama, the five told the court that the charge they were facing was repealed and they could not be prosecuted on the allegations.

They claimed that the charge was repealed in April this year through a Statutory Instrument that was repealed, claiming that doing so, amounted to "undue limitation on their right to liberty enshrined in Section 49 of the Constitution".

The five also said the effect of a repeal of law renders it non-existent.

Mamombe and her accomplices claim that participating in a gathering was not an offence.

 They also told the court that holding of placards does not constitute an offence arguing that the State failed to point on who was holding the placards.

State witness, Assistant Inspector Tevedzerai Shonhai, in his testimony chronicled how he was informed of the demonstration and how they dispersed the gathering.

"It was sometime in May 2020. I was stationed at Warren Park. I was deployed at Warren Park D and at around midday. I received a telephone call from an informant stating that there was a demonstration taking place," said Asst Insp Shonhai.

"After receiving the call, I and police station reaction team proceeded from Warren Park D to Warren Park 1.

"We intercepted the demonstrators at corner Bulawayo Road and Warren Park Turn-off. Upon our arrival, there were two members of the demonstrators who were addressing them," he said.

Asst Insp Shonhai told the court that the crowd out-numbered the police and he was instructed to use tear-smoke to disperse them.

"I observed that demonstrators were singing and toyi-toying and some of them holding placards. Others were wearing Harare City Council branded T-shirts. After considering the manpower I was deployed with, I contacted superiors on how to disburse the crowd.  My superior advised me to fire tear smoke to disperse them," he said.

Asked how if he had identified Mamombe at the gathering, Asst Insp Shonhai said he had been following her as a legislator.

"She is a popular person. I used to follow her when she was MP and she is actually likeable," he said.

Asst Insp Shonhai told the court that the five CCC members were not chanting their former MDC-A slogans at the time he arrived where they were gathered.

"From the period of interception I did not hear MDC slogans. No one was harassed," he said.

The matter continues on July 6 with five CCC members' lawyer cross-examining Asst Insp Shonhai.

Mr Tafara Chirambira and Miss Polite Muzamani prosecuted.

Source - The Herald
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