Nyore Madzianike and Prosper Dembedza
Eleven opposition political activists, including MDC Alliance spokesperson, Fadzai Mahere and playwright Tsitsi Dangarembga, have indicated that they will challenge their placement on remand when they return to court on September 24.
They were arrested in Harare over the flopped July 31 illegal demonstrations, which the organisers intended to use to overthrow a constitutionally elected Government.
Mahere, Dangarembga, Paul Besa, Julie Gabriel Barnes, Chamunorwa Phillip Ndengu, Tinotenda Muskwe, Tinashe Murapata, Jessica Drury, Nyasha Musandu, Josee Lotter and Simon are being charged with participating in a public gathering with intent to cause public violence.
They are also charged with violating the Public Health Act (Covid-19 Containment and Prevention).
Mahere and her accomplices were freed on $5 000 bail each.
Meanwhile, 10 suspected MDC Alliance marshals who allegedly assaulted a police officer at a food court in Harare last year had their application for refusal of further remand dismissed yesterday.
Evans Chinyanga (39), Tichaona Maziya (22), Petros Kaesa (44), Tafadzwa Madziwa (23), Lovemore Chitengo (42), Robson Mutseta (31), Hillary Nyawasha (29), Denford Mlambo (41), Blessing Chirodza (41) and David Tawanda Tekere (35) are on $100 bail each.
The 11th accused, Hilton Tamangani (29), allegedly died in custody.
The accused’s legal counsel, Mr Kudzayi Kadzere, applied for refusal of further remand after the State led by Mr Lancelotte Mutsokoti sought a postponement, saying he was not ready to give a trial date since his key witness was in South Africa.
Kadzere told the court that his clients had been on remand for a long time and the State was not willing to furnish them with a trial date.
He said the accused persons should be removed from remand and the State should proceed by way of summons.
Responding to the application, Mr Mutsokoti said his witness remained in South Africa due to Covid-19 travelling restrictions, therefore, the need to postpone the matter.
Harare magistrate Mrs Judith Taruvinga ruled in the State’s favour and deferred the matter to November 19.
The accused are alleged to have taken turns to punch and slap a police officer, Tatenda Sibiya, who was standing at the intersection of Julius Nyerere Way and Kwame Nkrumah Avenue, while ordering him to leave ‘‘their’’ area.
Tamangani allegedly stole a mobile phone, US$200 and $35 from Sibiya during the assault.
After committing the offence, the court heard that the suspects fled into the basement of Robinson House where they were later arrested.