Bindura Magistrate Frees Community Mobiliser Accused Of Contravening MOPO
3 August 2023
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By A Correspondent| Bindura Magistrate Joyline Mudhege on Tuesday 1 August 2023 set free Onai Chitakunye, a community mobiliser and a member of Institute for Young Women’s Development (IYWD), after she stood trial on charges of convening an unsanctioned meeting in contravention of section 7(1)(b) as read with section 5 of the Maintenance of Peace and Order (MOPO) Act.

Chitakunye was arrested by Zimbabwe Republic Police members on 29 July 2022 after she was accused of convening an illegal meeting which was attended by 80 people on 29 June 2022 at Mayfair Lodge in Bindura, without giving notice in writing to Chief Superintendent Gladman Chiparaushe, the ZRP Officer Commanding Bindura District, for approval.

But on Tuesday, Chitakunye, who was represented by Tinashe Chinopfukutwa and Kelvin Kabaya of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), was relieved after Magistrate Mudhege found her not guilty of committing the alleged offence and discharged and acquitted her at the close of the prosecution case.

Magistrate Mudhege ruled that prosecutors failed to prove a prima facie case against Chitakunye as there were no essential elements proven for the offence she was charged with.

The Magistrate ruled that no evidence had been led by prosecutors during trial upon which a court can reasonably rely on to convict Chitakunye.
Magistrate Mudhege also ruled that the alleged unsanctioned meeting was exempted from the requirements of notifying ZRP.

Chitakunye is the latest person to be rescued by ZLHR among a long list of persons arrested and charged with contravening provisions of the MOPO Act.
On 8 June 2023, two IYWD team members namely Sandra Zenda and Kudakwashe Munemo, were acquitted after standing trial on charges of contravening the MOPO Act.