Extended jail time for 4 MDC Alliance activists as court delays bail ruling

Extended jail time for 4 MDC Alliance activists as court delays bail ruling

Four MDC Alliance activists charged with disorderly conduct following the sentencing of Makomborero Haruzivishe to 14 months imprisonment on Tuesday are spending the weekend in jail after a magistrate adjourned their bail ruling to Monday.

Vongai Tome, 51, Kudakwashe Butau, 30, Ngonidzashe Dzapfumba, 21, and Patrick Shumba, 22, were arrested outside the court as police violently dispersed opposition supporters who had gathered in solidarity with Haruzivishe.

During the ensuing commotion, Tome, a member of the MDC Alliance national executive, accused a police officer of grabbing or fondling her breasts.

“On the 6th of April 2021 Tome, Mupfumba, Shumba, and Butao or one or more of them intentionally engaged in a disorderly conduct by chanting slogan ‘ahoi maComrades ahoi’,” prosecutors charged.

“And during an attempt by the police to disperse them, Tome shouted ‘ndabatwa zamu’ in a bid to distract police officers from dispersing them intending to provoke the breach of peace on the realization that there is real risk or possibility that the breach of peace maybe provoked thereby contravening the said Act.”

Prosecutors opposed bail saying the opposition activists would likely abscond. But their lawyer Gift Mutisi countered that there was no basis for such reasoning.

Harare magistrate Richard Mangosi, who was expected to make a ruling on Friday, moved his verdict to Monday.

Meanwhile, Mangosi released 18 other MDC Alliance members accused of violence in Mbare and elsewhere on Z$3,000 bail each.

The court heard that the opposition activists confronted Zanu PF supporters at their Mbare offices on April 1 and pelted them with stones.

When the victims fled, prosecutors say, the defendants pursued them and stabbed some of them with knives and battered others with wood.

It is further alleged that the accused persons caught up with one Wadzanai Dura, who was clad in an overall inscribed “Ed has my vote” and forced her to strip off.

Prosecutors say she was forced to walk in undergarments and was only saved by a Good Samaritan who gave her a T-shirt to cover herself.

The 18 were represented by Innocent Gonese, an MDC Alliance official.