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CCC members trial postponed again

by Staff reporter
05 May 2022 at 07:09hrs | Views
A State witness at the trial of CCC activists Joana Mamombe and Cecilia Chimbiri on charges of faking their abductions sometime in 2020 could not attend court yesterday as she was ill, forcing the matter to be postponed for the second time to May 17.

The State witness, Ms Venenzia Muchenje, was the police officer on duty when the two claimed to have been arrested.

Prosecutor Mr Michael Reza said Ms Muchenje had not recovered and efforts to call her to show herself to the court were fruitless.

He even called her boss, who promised to send a team to Ms Muchenje's house to fetch her, but also failed to secure her attendance.

 "I made efforts to contact the witness and I managed to speak to the witness herself," said Mr Reza. "She said she is still not well. I then formulated an option for her to come to court so that she can give evidence in court.

"I spoke to her boss Chief Superintended Moyo and he had instructed Machipisa police to go and fetch her from her house and bring her to court. I was waiting a call from Supt Moyo, who is the Dispol (officer in charge of the district) and up until now the call has not come."

Mr Reza then applied for postponement of the matter, which Mamombe and Chimbiri's lawyer Mr Alec Muchadehama did not oppose.

Ms Muchenje was one of the police officers who were manning a roadblock along Harare-Bulawayo Road near the Exhibition Park where Mamombe and Chimbiri claimed to have been arrested before being taken to Harare Central Police station and later driven to a secluded place where they were subjected to torture.

When Ms Muchenje initially testified, she told the court that no one was arrested at all from 2pm when they assumed duty on the day in question.

She also testified that she never saw a Mercedes Benz with women on-board during the time she assumed duty at the roadblock at around 2pm.

Ms Muchenje said a man approached them about a few minutes after they went on duty asking whether they had arrested anyone and they told him they had not.

Circumstances leading to the arrest of the activists are that on May 13, 2020 at around 12.30pm, the duo, together with Netsai Marova, who is on the run, teamed up with other youths then under the MDC-A banner, and gathered at Choppies Supermarket in Warren Park 1.

They then allegedly staged a demonstration against the recall of their party's MPs from Parliament and the way funds were used to combat Covid-19.

It is alleged that on the same day, they called their friends, family and lawyers saying they had been arrested at a roadblock near the Showgrounds in Harare and were taken to Harare Central Police Station.

Upon receiving the communication, their lawyer Mr Jeremiah Bamu allegedly went to the police CID Law and Order section where he communicated with Detective Chief Inspector Chibaya, saying the three had been arrested and taken to Harare Central police station.

According to the State, checks were made and it was established that they had not been arrested.

On the same day, social media platforms and local newspapers were awash with news that the three had been arrested, it is alleged.

On May 15, at around 1am, Mr Bamu advised the police that the three were at Muchapondwa Business Centre in Bindura.

The police and Mr Bamu went to the business centre in Bindura, collected the trio and took them to hospital in Waterfalls, Harare, since they claimed to have been tortured.

On May 19, 2020, Netsai Marova was interviewed by Detective Chafa to the effect that she was abducted and tortured by the police.

Mamombe and Chimbiri were later interviewed on May 25, 2020, according to State.

It is said investigations by the police revealed that they were never abducted, but the three stage managed the kidnapping.

Chief Magistrate Mrs Faith Mushure presided.

Source - The Herald
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