A HARARE magistrate yesterday granted an order by lawyers representing MDC–T legislator for Harare Metropolitan Ronia Bunjira (49) and six other party activists arrested last month following a demonstration to have them examined by doctors of their own choice after they were allegedly assaulted by the police.
Magistrate Tendai Mahwe granted the order after the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) failed to provide urgent medical examination to Bunjira, Danmore Tshuma (34), Keith Charumbira (age not given), Bridget Nyandoro (29), Stanley Manyenga (32), Stewarty Gwebe (24) and Unnete Chibinya (30).
“If it takes more than two weeks for a person to be medically examined by a doctor, what will make us believe that it will happen now?” Mahwe queried.
“The prison service shall allow a medical practitioner of the accused’s choice to medically examine them while in custody.
Prosecutor Sharon Mashavira told the court that the prosecution was making frantic efforts for the medical examination to be conducted, but the unavailability of prison doctors had hindered progress.
“The court order for medical examination for the accused persons was granted, but, however, there has been a challenge at the prison services due to the non-availability of medical doctors.
The State has undertaken to write a request for an inquiry that the prison services have not complied with a court order and for them to respond by the next remand date,” she said.
Defence lawyer Obey Shava accused the State of disrespecting the rule of law by ignoring court orders before applying for an order for his clients to be examined by doctors of their own choice.
The opposition party supporters are charged with obstructing or endangering the free flow of persons or traffic.
They were further remanded in custody to September 17.
Allegations against the activists are that on August 18 at around 11am, 40 MDC-T supporters convened at the party’s Harvest House headquarters to carry out a demonstration.
They allegedly marched from Harvest House along Angwa Street singing party songs, while waving placards inscribed: “We demand our jobs now, We want our jobs now, Release our leader.”
The demonstrators were intercepted by alert police officers as they approached the intersection of Jason Moyo Avenue and Julius Nyerere Way and subsequently arrested, the court heard.