Police fail to bring evidence against accused MRP members

Five members of Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) who were arrested for public violence have applied for their case to be dismissed after the state witness failed to bring evidence in court.

The five were arrested for public violence outside the Bulawayo High Court during a bail hearing for Ntabazinduna Chief Ndiweni.

Partrone Xaba (43), Akim Ndebele (32), Prince Ncube (28), Ndabezinhle Ncube (38) and Mongameli Mlotshwa (38), however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Appearing before Bulawayo magistrate, Adelaide Mbeure Friday, the MRP members applied for a discharge as the state had failed to prove a prima-facie case against them

Their lawyer, Dumisani Dune of Mathonsi-Ncube Law Chambers chided the state for failing to tender evidence in form of placards, photographs or videos it alleged to have captured on the day of arrest of the five causing noise.

One police officer who had been deployed outside the High Court, Tafadzwa Chaponda, who ws taking photographs and videos, failed to produce evidence before the court citing he was not aware he was supposed to bring it.

Chaponda claimed he had left the evidence on a computer at his office.
State prosecutor, Nokuthula Chitsungo told the court he would submit his response on September 10.

The magistrate will make a ruling on their application on September 13, 2019.

According to the state, the five had intent to cause chaos on August 28, 2019 outside the Bulawayo High Court where Chief Ndiweni’s bail hearing was in progress.

The state alleged they started singing anti-tribal songs in Ndebele vernacular while waving placards written “Free Ndiweni, Ndiweni’s life is in danger, We want justice, No to tribalism, Hands off our Chief…. ” among other litanies.

Chitsungo said the accused people were caught on camera by police photographers from the Criminal Investigation Department who had been deployed on the ground.

In their defense, the MRP members cited their conduct did not in any way affect the proceedings of the court case nor did they disturb members of the public who were going about with their business.

The MRP five said they were simply exercising their right to expression alongside the dictates of their Ndebele culture and tradition by reciting praises to honour Chief Ndiweni.

Their lawyer told the court that the allegations against them were malicious, whose aim was to victimise MRP members for standing in solidarity with the Chief.

Sibusiso Moyo, a Detective, Assistant Inspector from the Law and Order Department who testified earlier before the same court that testified that the singing and dancing allegedly disturbed the peace of passers-by.

Moyo said the accused persons were deterred from causing further nuisance because of the heavy deployment of uniformed forces.

He, however, conceded that roads leading to the High Court were blocked so no vehicles passed through besides the few pedestrians using the road.

The detective also admitted that although the accused persons were singing and dancing outside the High Court, they did not in any way disturb the proceedings that were taking place inside.

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