Woza case takes new twist

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The case in which two Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza) leaders, Jennifer Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu, are being charged with kidnapping and theft
took a new twist yesterday when the key State witness denied ever being kidnapped by the pair.

Emma Mabhena (75) of Njube, whom the State alleged was kidnapped by Williams and Mahlangu, told the Bulawayo Regional Court she was not forced to get into the Woza leaders’ vehicle, but did so voluntarily.

This was contrary to the statement which the State alleges Mabhena gave to the police, which said she was kidnapped by Williams and Mahlangu.

Mabhena disputed the statement which claimed she was bundled into a car being driven by Williams.

She also disputed that Williams and Mahlangu drove away without her consent leaving her grandchildren alone going to Nketa suburb and that she was threatened with assault.

Instead, Mabhena said she got into the accused pair’s car to help them thinking that they could be police officers although the two Woza leaders had not presented themselves as such.

Mabhena told the court that what was recorded in the statement was not true and insisted she accompanied Williams and Mahlangu to Nketa after they persistently persuaded her.

The other witness, Tabie Ndlovu, who stays at the same house with the complainant, Bokani Moyo, who claimed that the two activists stole her torch, said Moyo brought the torch home and told her that she was selling it and was looking for buyers.

She said the torch was recovered from Moyo’s bedroom, where Williams and a Nolwandle had gone in to search of some stolen property.

Moyo is a former Woza member who was allegedly fired after she had stolen some property from the organisation’s offices and has already testified in court.

Williams and Mahlangu pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and theft at the start of their trial before regional magistrate Godwin Sengweni on Monday.

The matter continues today when the pair’s lawyer Kossam Ncube will cross-examine
Ndlovu.

Both Williams and Mahlangu are on $200 bail granted by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Maphios Cheda in September after spending 12 days incarcerated at Mlondolozi Prison.