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Video footage wrongfoots witness


The trial of two MDC-T MPs and six other party activists accused of threatening to burn Chief Samuel Samambwa’s homestead in Zhombe and kill him in January, continued on Tuesday with the State leading evidence from Zhombe Ward 9 councillor Enerst Madharani.

The two legislators, Costin Muguti (Gokwe Kabuyuni) and Roger Tazviona (Zhombe), together with six other party members allegedly went to Chief Samambwa’s homestead on January 31 where they told the chief that he would be killed if he failed to return MDC-T regalia confiscated by Zanu PF members in the area.
Madharani, a Zanu PF councillor, told the court Muguti made the threat to kill the chief with the rest nodding in agreement.

But he started stammering after the defence led by Reginald Chidawanyika produced video evidence showing that when the eight accused persons went to the chiefs’ homestead they had a cordial conversation.

The video showed Muguti shaking hands with Samambwa and occasionally exchanging jokes, punctuated by bouts of laughter.

The footage goes on to show Muguti saluting the chief by clapping hands in traditional style, before announcing his departure.

However, Madharani argued that the footage produced had been edited as it did not play all events that took place at the chief’s homestead on the day in question.

“This video does not show what happened from the start. It only shows things that happened from the middle to the end, some of the stuff has been edited,” said Madharani under cross-examination.

Although he told the court he was by the chief’s side during the conversation, Madharani does not appear anywhere in the video.

The State witness refused to answer some of the questions directed to him by Chidawanyika, claiming that he would only do so if the defence brought unedited video footage.

Efforts by magistrate Tendai Mahwe to have him answer the questions hit a brick wall. “I will only confirm this footage if they bring the other part and if not, then I will not answer the other questions,” said Madharani, seething with anger.

A court interpreter had to calm him down, ordering him to simply respond to questions and not get emotional.

After the marathon cross-examination, Madharani
thanked God as he was released from the witness stand. The trial continues on December 19 and 20 when the State is expected to call more witnesses.

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