The trial of five MDC Alliance youths accused of breaching Covid-19 regulations by holding a demonstration got underway before Harare magistrate Dennis Mangosi on Monday.
Makomborero Haruzivishe, 28, Allan Moyo, 23, Denford Ngadziore, 48, Stanley Manasi Manyenga, 38, and Cecillia Revai Chimbiri, 33, all entered not guilty pleas.
The prosecution alleges that the five gathered at their party headquarters, Morgan Tsvangirai House, for a meeting before the police dispersed them in February this year.
Their legal team of Obey Shava and Jeremiah Bamu said the charges against them were fabricated “by overzealous police officers whose law enforcement is solely aimed at pleasing the ruling Zanu PF regime.”
“They deny each and every material allegation levelled against them and put the State to the strict proof thereof. Accused persons will specifically deny having participated in an illegal gathering or illegal demonstration. They will also deny having held any placards as alleged or at all,” Bhamu told the court.
“They will further tell the court that the lack of particularity in the allegations inhibit them from saying anything further than they already have. It suffices to say that accused persons are law abiding citizens who at all times conduct themselves within the confines of the law and actively promote the realisation of their and other people’s rights.”
The trial began with the prosecution calling its first witness, Munyaradzi Silomonye from Cyber Laboratory who allegedly downloaded a video recording of the five persons while allegedly committing the offence.Silomonye said he downloaded the video that helped to identify the five.
The trial continues on November 5.The indictment by the National Prosecuting Authority says that the five activists joined scores of other MDC Alliance youths at Morgan Tsvangirai House at around 5.30PM on February 19.
The prosecution says there was to be a meeting of the MDC Alliance youth wing, Harare councillors, members of parliament and the provincial leadership.Prosecutors say the activists began chanting slogans and running along Nelson Mandela Avenue in the direction of Copacabana.
It is alleged that they later gathered at corner Angwa Street and Nelson Mandela Avenue whilst holding placards inscribed, ‘Respect Our Constitution,’ ‘ED Enda’ and ‘ED Must Go’. They also allegedly sang “hatichada kunyengerera” and “hatipihwe order nemasaskamu.’
Police allegedly dispersed the gathering, only for the group to gather again at Copacabana where they were scattered by teargas.
Prosecutors say some of the demonstrators, as they retreated, threw stones and other objects at the police action.
Police say video footage and photos captured during the incident and also circulated on social media showed the five MDC Alliance activists were part of the mob.