The treason case against Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF) leaders took a new twist after two key State witnesses said to have been present at the scene where the politicians allegedly distributed subversive flyers, failed to identify the suspects or link them to the incident when their trial commenced yesterday.
In March last year, Paul Siwela, Charles Thomas and John Gazi are alleged to have distributed flyers to incite the public and security forces to revolt against the government, charges they are denying.
The trial kicked off before Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nicholas Ndou sitting with
assessors Fanuel Damba and Elliot Nyoni.
The first witness, Headman Sibanda, in his evidence–in-chief testified that he did not know any of the suspects seated in the dock pointing to the trio of Siwela, Thomas and Gazi and said he was seeing them for the first time.
Sibanda said on March 3 last year, the day when the alleged offence was committed, he picked up a flyer.
The message on the alleged flyer read: “Mthwakazi
However, on being shown the flyer, Sibanda told the court he could not remember it well, saying the one he picked up had a map. He also said the police
summoned him to be a witness simply because he was the chairman of Entumbane Flea Market where the flyers were allegedly distributed but did not see anyone distributing them at the scene.
Sibanda’s evidence was corroborated by the second witness, Sibangani Ndlovu, who said he did not see the person who was distributing the flyers and said he was surprised that he had been brought to court to be a witness simply because of reading the material.
“I did not see anyone and only saw the flyer, but did not even take time with it before I threw it away. I don’t even know the accused persons, I have only met them here at court,” he said.
Ndlovu also disowned his statement to the police, saying the one produced in court was “fictitious”.
He said he never went to Bulawayo Central Police Station where he purportedly signed the statement. The trial will continue today when the State is expected to call more witnesses.
Lovack Masuku and Samuel Pedzisai are representing the State while Thomas and Siwela are represented by Advocate Lucas Nkomo instructed by Sindiso Mazibisa and Robert Ndlovu, and Sabelo Sibanda represents Gazi.
Eleven witnesses are lined up to testify,
including the Bulawayo police commander for the Law and Order section, Superintendent Andrew Mupungu, who is the investigating officer.