Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has rescued an opposition legislator and two councillors, who had been arrested and charged for allegedly committing a litany of offences in the post-election period.
On Friday 15 September 2023, ZLHR secured the release from police custody of Harare Deputy Mayor and Ward 41 Councillor Kudzai Kadzombe, who was arrested by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers on Thursday 14 September 2023 and faced two charges of assault as defined in section 89 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act and obstruction of voter as defined in section 149 of the Electoral Act.
In court, prosecutors alleged that Councillor Kadzombe assaulted Saeed Musaengana, a resident and a voter, at Civic Centre area in Marlborough suburb in Harare West constituency on 23 August 2023,
while he was walking on a path on his way to a polling station intending to cast his vote.
On the charge of obstruction of voter, prosecutors claimed that Councillor Kadzombe unlawfully and wilfully obstructed Musaengana, while he was on his way to a polling station, by holding him with his
hands placed on his neck and grabbing the back of his neck.
Councillor Kadzombe, who was represented by Paidamoyo Saurombe, Ruthy Chibwe, Jeremiah Bamu, Kelvin Kabaya and Tinashe Chinopfukutwa of ZLHR, was released from custody on free bail on Friday 15 September 2023 by Harare Magistrate Dennis Mangosi.
She returns to court on 2 October 2023, where prosecutors undertook to furnish her with a trial date.
Her lawyers notified prosecutors that if they fail to provide her with a trial date on 2 October 2023, they will file an application seeking an order compelling Magistrate Mangosi to remove her from remand.
On Thursday 14 September 2023, Harare Magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa also set free Clayd Mashozhera, the Ward 10 Councillor in Sunningdale constituency in Harare on bail after he had been arrested by ZRP officers on 12 September 2023 and charged with three counts of attempted murder as defined in section 189(1) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act as read with section 47 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act and malicious damage to property as defined in section 140 of Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
Prosecutors alleged that on a period between Tuesday 22 August 2023 and Wednesday 23 August 2023, Councillor Mashozhera, who was in the company of 14 unidentified accomplices and were driving various vehicles, blocked one of the complainants, Cyril Nyauchi’s vehicle, a Toyota Spacio and forced Artwell Marwa and Spencer Mudarikwa, the other two complainants out of the vehicle.
After doing this, Councillor Mashozhera, who was represented by Tapiwa Muchineripi of ZLHR, and some of his unidentified accomplices, reportedly assaulted Nyauchi all over his body using truncheons, iron bars, small axes and sjamboks and this resulted in him sustaining severe injuries.
With regard to the charge of malicious damage to property as defined in section 140 of Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, prosecutors claimed that Councillor Mashozhera and the alleged 14
accomplices, blocked Nyauchi’s vehicle and forced Marwa and Mudarikwa of their vehicle and then set the vehicle on fire.
As a result, prosecutors charged that US$10 000, tyres, an empty fuel jerry can, a Samsung mobile phone handset and a Nokia mobile phone handset all valued at US$15 600, were all lost during the incident.
On Thursday 14 September 2023, Harare Magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa set free Councillor Mashozhera after admitting him to US$350 bail and ordering him to report twice per week on Monday and Friday at Harare Central Police Station, not to interfere with state witnesses and to
continue residing at his given residential address.
Apart from Councillor Mashozhera, ZRP officers had on Tuesday 12 September 2023 also arrested and detained Sunningdale constituency legislator Hon. Maureen Kademaunga and charged her with attempted murder and malicious damage to property.
Hon. Kademaunga, who was represented by Harrison Nkomo of ZLHR, was released from custody on Wednesday 13 September 2023 after the National Prosecuting Authority conceded that there was no iota of evidence linking the opposition legislator to the commission of the alleged offence.