Harare: Court hearings stall as police officers deployed to thwart MDC demos

Police officers from Harare’s CID Law and Order section were deployed to Bulawayo to quell violence in the second largest city, a Harare court heard.

This was revealed by prosecutors at the Harare magistrates’ Courts where the State was seeking deferment of bail hearings to August 30 for 26 suspected protestors who participated in last Friday’s demonstration in the capital.

The 26, including a juvenile, are accused of participating in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of peace or bigotry ad defined in section 37 of the Criminal Law Codification and reform Act Chapter 9:23.

The 26 accused persons, including a minor, were divided into groups of nine and magistrates from Mbare and two others from Harare Civil Court were brought in to handle the cases while the fourth is stationed at Harare Magistrates Courts.

Prosecutors Tinashe Makiya, Idah Maromo, Charles Muchemwa and Francesca Mupfumira all applied that the accused persons be remanded in custody to August 30 for full bail application following the deployment of investigating officers and arresting details to Bulawayo.

“The State intends to lead evidence from the investigating officers and arresting details from CID Law and Order,” prosecutor Idah Maromo said.

“As we speak, they are out of town in an operation to curb public violence. Today, they are in Bulawayo, tomorrow they will be in Gweru, on August 22 they will be in Masvingo before proceeding to Mutare on August 27.

“We need to enable them to travel back to Harare from the above named stations.  We are appealing for postponement to August 30 for full bail application.

“Some of the accused persons were caught red-handed committing violence. Only the investigating officers can satisfy the court how they arrested them,” Maromo said.

Through their lawyers Jeremiah Bamu, Gift Mtisi, Tinomuda Shoko, and Blessing Nyamaropa from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) the suspected protestors opposed the postponement of bail hearing to August 30.

Blessing Nyamaropa argued that detaining his client to August 30 without bail hearing will be an illegality that cannot be justified by the law.

“We should have seen Officer Commanding taking the stand or an affidavit substantiating what the state is saying. The court cannot rely on mere by the state.

“Section 49 of the constitution clearly states that no person should be denied liberty without just cause. Postponing the matter to August 30 without providing compelling reasons will be a violation of the constitution.

All the magistrates ruled in favour of the accused persons and ordered that the accused must proceed to make bail applications.

However, 11 protestors have since been denied bail while the rest will be back in court tomorrow for bail ruling.

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