By Court Reporters
The trial date for MDC Alliance’s Joana Mamombe and seven other political activists who are charged with participating in an illegal demonstration sometime in May last year, has been set for next month.
Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri, Netsai Marova, Lovejoy Chitengu, Stanley Manyenga, Obey Tererai Sithole and Makomborero Haruzivishe’s trial, has been set for May 13 at the Harare Magistrates Court.
Harare provincial magistrate Mrs Vongai Guwuriro has previously said the trials were not opening because of technical glitches orchestrated by Mamombe after she pleaded insanity and declared she was mentally unfit to comprehend court proceedings.
“As long as the first accused continues playing the mental incapacity game on one hand and committing further crimes on the other and gets freed on bail, it will remain a hurdle for the proper administration of justice.
“This is a typical case in which the administration of justice in general and the courts in particular are being sold a dummy by the accused,” she said.
Mrs Guwuriro added that the two were “clearly dribbling the administration of justice, but the court must be able to see beyond that veil of deceit”.
The State led by Mr Tafara Chirambira alleges that around midday on May 13 the seven teamed up with several others and gathered at Warren Park 1 shopping centre in Harare before marching towards the Harare-Bulawayo Road.
According to the State, they displayed and waved placards, one of which was inscribed “Unlock us before we revolt”.
They were allegedly demonstrating against the extension of Covid-19 national lockdown and were intercepted and dispersed by the police.
Mamombe, Chimbiri and Marova are also facing other allegations of faking their abduction sometime last year.
Meanwhile, the High Court has deferred to tomorrow the bail appeal hearing of MDC Alliance members Mamombe and Chimbiri.
The duo has applied for bail on grounds of changed circumstances, but have been struggling to get bail, with the courts saying they have exhibited the propensity to continue committing similar offences each time they are granted bail.
Harare magistrate Mr Dennis Mangosi refused to grant the two bail a fortnight ago saying they allegedly committed the offences they are now facing and other charges, while on bail and releasing them would compromise the proper administration of justice.
Mr Mangosi made the remarks while ruling on the duo’s bail application on changed circumstances.
Mamombe, who is Harare West legislator, and Chimbiri are facing charges of breaching the national lockdown after convening a public gathering at the Harare Magistrates Court.
Justice Tawanda Chitapi, sitting in the bail court yesterday, deferred the hearing to allow the prosecution file its response.
The postponement was at the behest of the State, which advised the judge that the prosecution needed time to peruse the record of proceedings of the lower court, before responding to the appeal.
The defence led by Mr Alec Muchadehama did not oppose the postponement.
They took the matter up to the High Court on appeal.
Last week, Justice Pisirayi Kwenda postponed the matter to yesterday because the prosecution had not been favoured with the record of proceedings from the lower court, to enable them to respond to the appeal.
Mamombe and Chimbiri are accused of violating Covid-19 regulations when they gathered for a Press briefing at the Harare Magistrates’ Court. Their trial has been set for May 5.