THE 13 MDC-T members in Beitbridge who were being accused of convening an unsanctioned meeting at a house in Dulibadzimu in the border town have been acquitted.
Report by Silas Nkala, Staff Reporter
The activists, who were on $50 bail each, were set free last Thursday after their application for discharge was upheld by Beitbridge magistrate Gwineth Drawo.
The activists — Patricia Ndlovu (43), Win Mutasa (both local urban councillors), Farai Chinobva (34), Kimberley Bhebhe (23), Elliot Mabeza (46), Daniel Mkhwananzi (72), Wellington Chidzingwa (58), Maphios Macheka (39), Rhodes Nleya (59), Grace Runesu (54), Islam Esleam Madhosi (45), Gibson Ndou (41) and Philemon Kwinika (42) (the district secretary for Beitbridge East) — were facing charges of contravening the Public Order and Security Act (Posa).
Their lawyer Lizwe Jamela applied for his clients’ discharge on May 23, arguing the alleged meeting was held at a private venue.
“The venue is clearly not a public place, but rather private premises to which members of the public have no access and, therefore, charging the accused for a private meeting conducted at private premises is wrongful under the circumstances,” read part of the application for discharge.
The 13 MDC-T members were arrested in Dulibadzimu on February 25.
It is alleged that on February 22, Kwinika, the party’s district secretary, applied to the Officer Commanding Beitbridge district, Chief Superintendent Lawrence Chinhengo, notifying him of their intention to hold a political meeting at Number 4735 in Dulibadzimu suburb on February 25.
Two days later, police informed the MDC-T members that their meeting had not been approved.
The MDC-T officials allegedly defied the order and convened the meeting.
Police got a tip-off and raided the house where they allegedly found the MDC-T members chanting party slogans. They then arrested them and seized minutes of the meeting.