A State witness in the ongoing trial of MDC-T youth leader Solomon Madzore and 28 MDC-T others charged with the murder of a police officer in Glen View last year yesterday told the High Court that disturbances were triggered by the arrival of a police vehicle.
A constable in the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Solomon Mushaninga, who was testifying in the murder trial told the court there was peace and calm at Glen View 3 shopping centre before the police vehicle arrived.
He said violent scenes only erupted after the now deceased officer, Petros Mutedza ordered youths clad in MDC-T shirts to abandon the place as their gathering was not sanctioned by the police.
Mushaninga said this during cross examination by a team of defence lawyers led by Beatrice Mtetwa when he was asked to explain the purpose of the police visit to the shopping centre.
“Your team (police) approached Glen View expecting to witness disturbances and on the contrary, there was calm?” Mtetwa asked Mushaninga who answered in the affirmative.
“So you can safely say any disturbance then started by your arrival,” Mtetwa asked again to which she received another “Yes”.
However, contrary to other witnesses who have testified so far, many of whom
said the place was teeming with people from all walks of life, Mushaninga remained steadfast the death was linked to the MDC-T youths present at the shops. He denied seeing other people at the shopping centre besides the MDC-T youths, evidence at variance with the summary of witnesses presented in court by the State.
So sharp was Mushaninga’s contradiction to other witnesses’ evidence that he even ended up contradicting his own statements he submitted to the police on May 30 last year, exactly 24 hours after the incident had occurred.
Mushaninga, who physically identified accused four, Last Maengahama, in the dock last week, had his description of the same person in his statement recorded by the police contradicting the appearance of the accused, particularly in terms of height.
In his statement, Mushaninga said Maengahama was a tall man, only to say he was of medium height in court yesterday, prompting Mtetwa to accuse him of varying his evidence now to suit the true appearance of the accused whom he had now seen in court.
But Mushaninga argued he had said accused was tall, relative to his own height. Justice Chinembiri Bhunu had to order a practical check on how Mushaninga and Maengahama’s heights compared and it was found the two were actually of the same height.
Mushaninga, in his earlier statement, said he saw 50 MDC-T youths at the murder scene but told the court yesterday there were about 80 to 100 youths.
Mtetwa also queried why Mushaninga was bringing up issues that were not in his earlier statement to the police.
“In the State case, there is an issue of youths singing “Tsvangirai come and see what your children are doing”, and the call to kill the frogs- referring to the policemen. But in all the statements by the witnesses, nothing like that appears. Is it because it is immaterial?” Mtetwa asked, suggesting the witnesses could be taking orders from the State to fabricate issues and nail the accused.
Mushaninga also said Mutedza was assaulted with one fist behind the bottle store building before he and a fellow officer fled.
The trial continues today.