A trial date has been set for Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) chairperson, Thabitha Khumalo, Senator Helen Zivira and five other party members who were arrested in Bulawayo a fortnight ago.
The seven party members are currently out of custody on a $200 bail each, facing a charge of publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the State.
Khumalo, Zivira, Luba Masotsha, Elliot Mujeri, Tinashe Matimbura, Meliqiniso Sithole and Shelton Tembo all pleaded not guilty to the offence.
Bulawayo provincial magistrate, Tinashe Tashaya, set their trial date for September 17.
Magistrate Tashaya reversed an order for Khumalo to report every week to her police station as part of the bail conditions.
Legal representative, Godfrey Nyoni from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) is representing the MDC officials in the matter.
Bulawayo High Court Judge Justice Thompson Mabhikwa, Monday, following an application by the party, ordered police to conditionally release Khumalo’s vehicle.
Justice Mabhikwa ruled the vehicle was being held illegally.
State representative Leonard Chile told the court the accused persons were on August 17 using a grey Ford Ranger and while acting in common purpose went around Tshabalala and Nkulumane distributing fliers titled “Free Zimbabwe campaign.”
He said the flier which was addressed to all Zimbabweans, asserted that 2018 harmonised elections were stolen while they knew that such information was false.
MDC national spokesperson Daniel Molokeli, after the court hearing, reiterated that Khumalo and the rest of the party activists were innocent and merely being harassed by the regime.
“We note the removal of Hon. Khumalo’s reporting conditions, but we would have wanted the reporting conditions for all the accused to be removed as they are all innocent.
“It is our fully considered view that the State has a very weak case and is simply persecuting our party leaders for holding on to the correct position that last year’s elections were stolen, ” said Molokele.
He said the only reason the matter is being pursued was a political plot to intimidate their political leaders to back down on their demand for Zimbabwe to return to legitimacy under a popularly elected people’s government.
Molokele said the MDC was calling for an end to the political charade through the unconditional withdrawal of the “false” charges against all its leaders.