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Gwisai trial: witness in U-turn

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The video footage shown as evidence during the trial of University of Zimbabwe law lecturer and International Socialist Organisation general-coordinator Munyaradzi Gwisai and his five alleged accomplices was meant simply to kill time, the State’s star witness told the court yesterday.

This was contrary to earlier assertions by the State that the video footage, showing revolts in Egypt and Tunisia, were meant to incite violence and unconstitutionally remove the inclusive government, “Egyptian style”.

Under cross-examination Jonathan Shoko was asked by Gwisai’s lawyer Aleck Muchadehama at what stage the video footages was shown and to narrate what happened.

Shoko said: “The videos were being shown to kill time because speakers who were scheduled to speak had not arrived.”

Muchadehama then asked: “If the videos were shown to kill time, were they meant to incite anyone given no speaker had addressed the meeting?”

Shoko made a U-turn and said the videos were part of the meeting, but what changed was the timing in showing them.

Muchadehama continued grilling Shoko who took to the witness stand for the fourth time yesterday.

More pictures were produced by the defence, allegedly showing Shoko at the 12th MDC-T anniversary on September 9 this year, but Shoko denied the photographs depicted his image.

Prosecutor Michael Reza objected to the defence’s cross-examination approach and production of the photos, arguing they could have been doctored.

Reza said: “The issue here is not the identity of this man (Shoko), where he was born, where he lives or whether his grandmother had measles. The entire cross-examination by the defence is becoming a sleeping tablet and I am sleeping.”

However, provincial magistrate, Kudakwashe Jarabini overruled the State’s objection, telling the State there was no standard cross-examination format and that it was the court’s prerogative to decide on the relevance of questions.

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