By Mary Taruvinga and Costa Nkomo
High Court judge, Justice Tawanda Chitapi Wednesday granted Harare West MP Joanna Mamombe, and MDC Alliance deputy youth secretary Cecilia Chimbiri a $20 000 bail each with strict conditions.
The duo was arrested at the beginning of March and charged with violating Covid-19 guidelines after addressing the press at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts.
Before being granted bail Wednesday, Mamombe and Chimbiri had spent over 60 days at the Chikurubi Maximum Prison.
Passing his ruling, Justice Chitapi expressed concern over the two opposition activists repeated criminal cases adding they were stretching the courts’ patience.
He said it was disheartening that as a lawmaker, Mamombe, was on the lead of breaking the same laws passed by Parliament.
“It remains a fact that their conduct stretches the court’s patience. As such bail will be granted in strict conditions,” said Justice Chitapi.
“The appeal hereby succeeds and the decision by the magistrate is set aside and substituted by the following; that the appellants deposit $20 000 bail each, continue to reside at their given addresses, not to interfere with witnesses, and are also barred from addressing a gathering exceeding 50 people or engaging in any conduct which is in violation of Covid-19 regulations.”
The judge said if a criminal offence was continuously repeated it would turn out to be a mockery of the justice delivery system adding bail was an entitlement and hoped the new freedom would give the two activists another chance to reform although their grounds of appeal were not convincing.
“However, my comment on the grounds of appeal is that they are generalised with no impact on their request. The appellants should have attacked the decision by the lower court to deny them bail.”