Clerics Set Free After Spending 1 Year Under Prosecution
15 July 2023
Spread the love

A Zimbabwe court has set free 10 clerics and pro-democracy campaigners, who had spent more than one year under prosecution on charges of disorderly conduct after they were arrested last year by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers, who suppressed their prayer meeting in Harare.

The 10 clerics and pro-democracy campaigners who include Tariro Mukunga, Henry Mutasa, Mbuso Fuzwayo, the Secretary-General of Ibhetshu Likazulu, Melusi Nyathi, Felix Nyika, Edith Gurupira, Irene Gaswa, Patrick Nyaruni, Loice Dube and Angela Henrieta Shoko, were arrested by ZRP officers on 10 June 2022 in Harare at a prayer session organised by Zimbabwe Divine Destiny Network, an interdenominational religious organisation and which was disrupted by some law enforcement agents.

Mukunga, Mutasa, Fuzwayo, Nyathi, Nyika, Gurupira, Gaswa, Nyaruni, Dube and Shoko were charged with disorderly conduct in a public place as defined in section 41 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

Prosecutors alleged that the worshippers had engaged in ‘riotous conduct’.

The 10 clerics and pro-democracy campaigners were recently set free after they were removed from remand by Harare Magistrate Munashe Chibanda as their lawyer Kossam Ncube, of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, applied for their removal from remand on the basis that they had spent virtually a whole year under prosecution without being furnished with a trial date.

Magistrate Chibanda ruled that the state’s delay in furnishing them with a trial date was inordinate and there was no justification or reasonable cause to continue placing them on remand before ordering prosecutors to proceed by issuing summons for them to appear in court if the state intends to prosecute them again.