THE STATE yesterday filed its opposing papers against the three Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF) leaders’ application for discharge, claiming it had gathered enough evidence to prove the MLF leaders committed a treasonous crime.
Silas Nkala Staff Reporter
This followed an application filed by the MLF leaders’ lawyers asking the High Court to dismiss the case for lack of evidence.
The MLF leaders — Paul Siwela, Charles Thomas and John Gazi, represented by Advocate Lucas Nkomo, Sindiso Mazibisa and Advocate Sabelo Sibanda — are being charged with plotting to overthrow the government through mass protests.
State counsels Lovack Masuku and Samuel Pedzisai yesterday submitted that the evidence proffered by State witnesses during the trial was reliable enough to prove a prima facie case against the MLF leaders.
“I submit that the evidence given in this court is reliable enough to prove a prima facie case against the accused and I submit that they be put to their defence,” Masuku said.
But Nkomo and Sibanda submitted that failure by State witnesses to present recovered exhibits, including minutes of the alleged meeting where the suspects allegedly planned to overthrow the government, meant the State case was weak and did not warrant that the suspects be placed on their own defence.
The MLF lawyers said witnesses — Headman Sibanda, Sibangani Ndlovu, Constable Alex Chidakwa, Constable Edmund Magama, Sergeant Locardia Motoka, Detective Sergeant Patrice Nyanhete, Detective Sergeant Ngwenya, Isheunesu Kadziwa, a translator Philip Makondo and Detective Sergeant Zibusiso Moyo — gave contradictory evidence which the court must not rely on to convict the accused persons on treason or any alternative charges.
Nkomo said Magama who testified against Thomas said he did not recall what the suspect was wearing when arresting him.
He also said Ngwenya failed to identify or produce a search warrant he used at Siwela’s office alleging he left it with Siwela and later claiming he left the police officer who issued it.
Sibanda submitted that due to contradictions in the witness accounts, there was no basis for his clients to be placed on further remand.
Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nicholas Ndou yesterday reserved judgment on submissions to a yet-to-be-advised date.