A Bulawayo court has withdrawn charges against the nephew of investigative journalist and ZimLive editor Mduduzi Mathuthu, Advent Mathuthu after the State failed to avail witnesses to testify in the case.
Bulawayo provincial magistrate Shepherd Mjanja, Thursday, freed Mathuthu who was facing charges of inciting public violence in the run-up to the foiled July 31 protests.
Advent was arrested on July 30 while in the company of Tawanda Muchehiwa (also Mduduzi’s nephew) who was abducted and later tortured by suspected state security agents.
State representative, Terence Chakabuda unsuccessfully sought a postponement of the case, stating that the docket for the case was not yet back from the police station where it had been taken for further investigations.
Advent’s lawyer Nqobani Sithole of Ncube Attorneys, challenged the State’s plea, saying he had notified that should a trial date not be set in today’s session, then the defence would make an application to have his client placed off remand and charges against him dropped.
Magistrate Mjanja ruled in favour of the defence and ordered that the police immediately release Advent’s car which was being held as evidence.
In an interview with CITE after the court session, Sithole said the police are withholding the witness on purpose as they could have unmasked Muchehiwa`s abductors.
In July, police raided Mathuthu’s house in Mahatshula North suburb accusing the renowned journalist of keeping and manufacturing subversive materials and allegedly inciting Zimbabweans to engage in public violence on 31 July.
After failing to locate him, they took his sister Nomagugu into custody but later released her.
According to the State, Advent was allegedly found in possession of 76 fliers in his vehicle which had messages with the potential to incite public violence.
“On July 30 at Tile and Carpet Manleard investment, Belmont, Bulawayo. Mathuthu who was driving a BMW distributed fliers entitled: ZANU-PF MUST GO #JULY31 Demo” with the following words “What we hope to achieve, (i) Mnangagwa and his cabinet must resign. (ii)The military must not interfere with politics. (iii)National transitional authority government (iv)All captured institutions, ZEC, ZACC Judiciary must be rebuilt and we will leave when Zanu-PF is gone. Mathuthu was found in possession of 76 fliers in his vehicle,” said Chakabuda.