ZIMBABWE Human Rights director Okay Machisa, who is accused of fraud, yesterday broke down at the High Court after his bail appeal failed to be heard as it emerged some important documents were missing from his record.
REPORT BY CHARLES LAITON SENIOR COURT REPORTER
A sombre atmosphere engulfed the bail court’s corridor while relatives and friends tried to calm the human rights defender as he wiped tears running down his cheeks.
“Why are they doing this to me? What have I done? I work for the people,” Machisa murmured as prison officials dispersed sympathisers attempting to console him.
Yesterday’s failed hearing was the fourth in a row this week alone.
High Court judge Justice Felistus Chatukuta said she could not entertain Machisa’s case as she had not been provided with relevant documents to familiarise herself with the matter.
“I do not have a full record of proceedings with me. There is no State outline and exhibits,” she said.
“I, therefore, did not go through the record that I have because all the necessary documents I wanted to consider were not availed before me.”
The matter was later stood down to the end of the roll and referred to the judge’s chambers where the registrar was set to be called to explain the non-appearance of important court documents in the record.
On Thursday, Machisa’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa accused the State of trying to buy time after prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba told the court the State would not proceed with the matter because the papers were not in order.
“The system in place makes a mockery of the bail rules,” she charged.
“The accused has been in custody for more than a week and nothing has been done to make sure everything was in order and the State had the record.”
Machisa and his organisation’s members are accused of manufacturing fake voter registration certificates, which the State alleges were set to be used for malicious purposes during the forthcoming harmonised general elections this year.