Ibhetshu LikaZulu secretary-general, Mbuso Fuzwayo’s court appearance for allegedly assaulting some Bulawayo councillors in 2019 has been moved to July 6, after his defence poked holes into the state’s case.
Fuzwayo is being charged with 50 other people but curiously the other suspects were not summoned to court.
The assault case referred to by the state occurred after a failed attempt by a faction of councillors fronted by former Bulawayo deputy mayor Tinashe Kambarami to suspend Town Clerk, Christopher Dube, on allegations of mismanaging council funds, abuse of office and dereliction of duty, a move which led to an ugly confrontation between these officials.
When residents heard about this confrontation they moved to “discipline these councillors for failing to respect the City’s Town Clerk” and accused them of failing to deliver services.
Fuzwayo was supposed to appear in Court 5 at the Tredgold Magistrate’s court but his lawyer, Nqobani Sithole of Ncube Attorneys cited gaps in the state’s case.
After meeting with the state prosecutor privately, Sithole said the court’s papers were missing some information while some of the witnesses who witnessed the alleged assault against the city councillors and co-accused had not even filed statements.
The lawyer noted statements of these witnesses must be availed including those of the other 50 accused, Fuzwayo was charged alongside with.
“The state says Fuzwayo allegedly committed the assault with 50 others meaning he is accused number 51 but the other 50 have not been located,” Sithole said.
Besides, Sithole added that the charges levelled against his client were a “smokescreen” for his activism work of demanding justice for Gukurahundi victims.
“My client refutes these charges. His real crime is his work where he is calling for justice for the Gukurahundi victims. What we see here is a smokescreen by authorities who are hiding behind this assault and we will help the court realise that these are flimsy charges,” the lawyer said.
A fortnight ago, Ibhetshu LikaZulu held a memorial service for 22 villagers from Emkhonyeni in Tsholotsho, Matabeleland North who were burnt to death by the Fifth Brigade on March 16, 1983 – during the Gukurahundi atrocities.
The pressure group also erected a tombstone for the 21 women and one man.
Last week Tuesday, Ibhetshu LikaZulu proceeded to Bhalagwe in Kezi, Maphisa, Matabeleland South to erect another tombstone for Gukurahundi victims but it was stolen that night.
A tombstone had been erected at the same site in 2019 but was destroyed by suspected state agents.