LUPANE The trial of eight MDC-T activists accused of engaging in acts of political violence against Zanu PF supporters in 2008 failed to commence as scheduled on Tuesday after the defence lawyer, Lison Ncube, failed to appear in court.
The court heard Ncube had other pressing commitments at the High Court in Bulawayo. Lupane magistrate Takudzwa Gwazemba remanded the eight who are out of custody to February 28.
The accused Cetshwayo Ncube, Lungisani Ndlovu, Jokona Mpofu, Kara Sibanda, John Ngwabi, Edgar Ncube, Victor Nyoni and Robert Tshuma have denied the charges.
Last December, most of the suspects denied being at the scene of the alleged violent clashes. But, Tshuma admitted he was present and told the court they committed the offence in self-defence after Zanu PF supporters continuously attacked them.
During cross-examination, the MDC T activists alleged several homes of fellow party members were burnt by suspected Zanu PF youths in the run-up to the 2008 presidential election run-off.
The court heard on June 21, 2008, the MDC-T activists gathered at Mapanda Dam in Lupane where they allegedly hatched a plan to waylay Zanu PF supporters who were coming from a campaign rally at around 5pm.
Armed with axes, knobkerries, stones, logs and dogs, the party youths went to Gomoza stream bridge in Lupane where they allegedly laid ambush for the Zanu PF supporters coming from a campaign rally at Mpehlwa Primary School.
It is the State case that when the Zanu PF supporters were about to pass the bridge, the eight pounced on them using the weapons and set dogs on them.
Two Zanu PF supporters were seriously injured during the attack and were allegedly left for dead while some of them sustained minor injuries during the skirmishes.