Own Correspondent|Dozens of riot police officers on Tuesday descended on Harare Magistrates’ courts after the leader of the opposition MDC, Nelson Chamisa’s ‘unplanned’ appearance.
It is believed that the police expected a scene as Chamisa and scores of MDC supporters were appearing at the courts in solidarity with their party’s National Organising Secretary and Member of Parliament for Mkoba, Amos Chibaya.
Chibaya is accused of failing to take necessary measures to stop the public from engaging in a protest when he was legally obliged to do so.
He had appeared in court this Tuesday in anticipation of the commencement of trial but it failed to kick-off as the state’s witnesses were absent due to a motor-vehicle mechanical fault while the other one could not be reached on his mobile phone.
Magistrate Gloria Takundwa remanded Chibaya to 11 March for a possible trial at the same time warning the state that if their witnesses fail to appear at the next remand date, the court set, they will have to proceed by way of summons.
The defence impressed upon the magistrate that if the State fails to provide witnesses to the case on 11 March, the two must be removed from remand so that the State proceeds with summons, if it so wishes. The magistrate agreed with the defence that if the State fails to provide witnesses, then the two MDC leaders will be removed from remand.
The defence lawyers also asked the matter to be put before a different magistrate on the grounds that the magistrate presiding over the case was not impartial.
The two MDC leaders are part of a huge contingent of party leaders and activists who are being persecuted through prosecution by the Mnangagwa regime.