Gwisai put to his defence

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The trial of former MDC-T Highfield MP Munyaradzi Gwisai and his five colleagues accused of attempting to incite public violence with a view to overthrowing the government continued at the Harare Magistrates Court yesterday.

Gwisai took to the witness stand and was put to his defence after his application for acquittal at the close of the State case failed.

The International Socialist Organisation (ISO) general co-ordinator is being charged alongside Antoinette Choto, Tatenda Mombeyarara, Edson Chakuma, Hopewell Gumbo and Welcome Zimuto.

Gwisai told provincial magistrate Kudakwashe Jarabini his meeting on February 19 last year was not intended to topple the unity government as alleged by the State, but was purely meant for academic purposes.

Given that society was being prevented to move forward and this created poverty to the majority whilst concentrating wealth in a small number of people and that the only way forward was to ensure society was democratically owned and controlled by society rather than individuals, he said.

I was scheduled to speak on the day in question as we were supposed to discuss the momentous events that were taking place in North Africa and their implication for the democracy agenda of the working people in Africa in general and in Zimbabwe with particular reference to Tunisia and Egypt.

The purpose of the meeting was to probe the meaning of such events in Tunisia and Egypt for the working people in terms of democracy and socialism.

Gwisai also told the court the other purpose of the meeting was to commemorate the death of one Navigator Mungoni, an Aids activist and ISO member.

Gwisai also said he was supposed to speak on events in Egypt and Tunisia in relation to the global financial crisis, the state of capitalism globally today and the responses of the working class as well as the relationship of the said events to the style of democracy and constitutionalism in Africa and Zimbabwe.

The trial continues today and the State is represented by Michael Reza.

Meanwhile, the State yesterday challenged Africom Holdings bosses and Global Satellite Systems directors application for acquittal.

Africom acting chief executive Simba Mangwende and non-executive director Farai Rwodzi and Global Satellite Systems director Oliver Chiku are accused of illegally possessing, controlling or working a radio station.

Prosecutor Michael Reza submitted the Africom saga would be decided on empirical evidence. He urged provincial magistrate Kudakwashe Jarabini to dismiss the application.

The State argued the installation of a gadget known as a very small aperture terminal (VSAT) was done without authorisation. Reza said there were questions to be answered by the defence on whether proper procedures were followed when the VSAT was installed.