HomeLocal NewsMLF treason trial opens today

MLF treason trial opens today


The treason trial involving three Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF) leaders — Paul Siwela, John Gazi and Charles Thomas — opens at the Bulawayo High Court this morning with lawyers representing two of the accused declaring they are ready for what is Zimbabwe’s first treason trial to be heard in the country’s second biggest city.

The trial was supposed to have commenced last month but Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nicholas Ndou allowed an application for its postponement made by Abammeli Human Rights Lawyers representing two of the accused.

Abammeli will represent Siwela and Thomas while Gazi is represented by Sabelo Sibanda.

Gazi’s lawyers had said they were ready for trial.

Justice Ndou, sitting with assessors Jongilizwe Sobantu and Phanuel Damba, accepted that the trio was facing serious charges which carried the death penalty and that there was need to prepare for the trial.

Lawyer Sindiso Mazibisa told NewsDay on Friday that they were now ready for the trial.

“We will be filing our paperwork later today (Friday). We are ready for trial and we are ready for an acquittal,” he said.

Mazibisa confirmed that it would be the first treason trial to be heard at the Bulawayo High Court since the country’s independence in 1980.
Meanwhile, activists from a broad section of organisations in the city have braced themselves for the trial.

They attended a prayer service for the trio organised by the pressure group, Ibhetshu Likazulu, at Habakkuk Trust on Friday afternoon.

At the prayer meeting, Mbuso Fuzwayo, secretary of Ibhetshu Likazulu, said they were all “touched” by the trial and urged others to take it seriously because “treason is never a small issue”.

“Let us go and be with them. I hope and trust that we will be with them on Monday (today) and we will give them support, especially those who are free and have a chance,” said Fuzwayo.

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