Thirteen suspected Zanu PF supporters who allegedly attacked a group of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) activists in Harare’s Glenview suburb last week leading to the death of one opposition supporter face a lesser charge of public violence.
This is according to court papers presented when the group appeared at the Harare magistrate’s court for initial remand on Monday.
Tinashe Chitsunge was among scores of CCC activists who came under attack by stone throwing Zanu PF supporters as they were going about party campaign activities in the politically volatile suburb.
According to court papers, the group is being accused of “Public violence as defined in section 36 (1) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23”.
They are Ruzivo Mapuranga, 39, Pauline Chikomo, 37, Brian Mutanga, 38, Berrington Mutanga, 36, Emma Munana, 40, Tawanda Muchatisi, 29 and Tawanda Kaseke, 32.
Also among the accused are Munashe Nyakabau, 18, Tinashe Mabheki, 35, Fadzayi Madzinga, 27, Forget Kanyuru, 29, Phenias Kamwende, 28, and Cleopas Ndlovu.
The group was on Monday remanded in custody pending bail ruling on Tuesday afternoon by presiding magistrate Dennis Mangosi.
According to court papers, on August 3, the group started playing soccer at Chimunhu Ground in Glenview well aware that CCC had booked the venue for its rally.
Court further heard that when police tried to disperse them, they started throwing stones and during the process, CCC members arrived for the party rally and the two groups began throwing rocks at each other.
It is further alleged the situation became more tense, forcing CCC supporters to take cover in their motor vehicles.
Unfortunately, Chitsunge died during the commotion.
The 13 were then arrested the next day and brought to court over the weekend for their initial appearance.
During their appearance, Monday, prosecutor Zebediah Bofu opposed bail arguing the suspects were likely to interfere with witnesses if granted bail.
Bofu also told court the group was defiant considering that they threw stones at the police who tried to disperse them from a venue which was reserved for a CCC rally.
However, the 13, through their lawyer Steven Chikotora, argued that their arrest was a coordinated attack on Zanu PF cell leaders.
“The accused are denying that they were at the grounds. They are peaceful people. You have no compelling reasons to challenge the granting of bail,” Chikotora said.