SUSPECTED MDC Alliance protesters, who were arrested at the party headquarters last Thursday were mostly polling agents and candidates who were submitting their V11 forms collected from various constituencies, the court heard yesterday.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
The suspected protesters, who are charged with public violence, appeared before magistrate Francis Vhitorini and were represented by human rights lawyers Gift Mtisi, Lizwe Jamela, Denford Halimani, Kossam Ncube and James Makiya.
While applying for bail, the accused’s lawyers told the court that the military caused commotion at the party headquarters while the accused persons were surrendering poll returns to their superiors.
Jamela said his clients never participated in the protests and were mostly polling agents from Uzumba, Maramba and Pfungwe, who were submitting polling returns and collecting their allowances.
“Your worship, one of the accused persons, Simpson Nerwande, is the national election officer. When the party headquarters was closed by the military, he was busy collecting polling returns from the polling agents and he denies the charge,” Jamela said.
Among the arrested persons were Harare South losing parliamentary candidate Shadreck Mashayamombe, Simbarashe Mujeye, Happymore Chidziva’s elections manager and some party workers based at the Richard Morgan Tsvangirai House.
Jamela further told the court that his clients were proper candidates for bail, as the State had failed to proffer compelling reasons on why the suspects must be denied bail.
He said all his clients were of fixed abode and were prepared to surrender their passports if given bail and could also afford $50 bail.
While opposing bail, prosecutor Michael Reza told court that the accused persons were likely to incite violence.
“Your worship, the situation outside is fluid, is volatile. The accused persons have unfinished business outside. If released, they can regroup and protest again. These accused persons caused the death of six innocent people and all were not part of the protests, but were caught in the crossfire,” Reza said.
“The police were looking for them and they ran away and hid inside their party headquarters. Instead of surrendering, they sought refuge at Morgan Tsvangirai House. Some of them were observed setting vehicles on fire, stoning buildings belonging to their opponents.”
The bail application is expected to continue today.