MDC-T activists’ trial fails to kick off

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The trial of MDC-T Highfield East legislator Erick Murai (44) and 15 others, who were arrested early this month on charges of public violence, failed to kick off yesterday as scheduled after the prosecution indicated the State papers were not yet ready.

BY NQOBILE NKIWANE

Murai’s co-accused persons are Memory Ncube (33), Acquiline Sangani (68), Erenia Chiradza (34), Rutendo Bvute (29), Stella Manyanga (64), Herbert Mwadira (18), Tafadzwa Kambala (25), Snikiwe Mandava (53), Peter Mafara (33), Shephered Munyadzi (40), Michael Matemai (67), Farai Kushata (42), Clide Mushamba (30), Givemore Mapirahwa (30) and Memory Mudyabumbe (46).

The suspects appeared before Mbare resident magistrate Anita Tshuma, who postponed the trial to December 8.

The suspects were previously released on $200 bail each and were also ordered to report twice a week at Harare Central Police Station as part of their bail conditions.

Allegations against the MDC-T activists are that on November 8 this year, they attended an unsanctioned rally and pelted police officers with stones.

The State alleges that on November 2 this year, one Trouble Hasha, applied for permission at Mbare Police Station to hold an MDC-T rally, which was to be held at Kazembe Rising Stars Primary School in Hopely, but the regulating authority did not approve of the rally.

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However, on the day in question, the activists proceeded to gather at the primary school with other MDC-T supporters, Murai included, dressed in their party regalia.

Police officers got information that the suspects were gathered at the school and when they got there, they discovered the culprits had drums and catapults.

The State further alleges when the police, who were led by Inspector James Chimombe, ordered the members to disperse, the party activists allegedly turned violent and threw stones at the police.

The court also heard the situation turned worse after the MDC-T members charged towards the police, prompting the law enforcement agents to release teargas and firing warning shots to disperse the crowd.

Some 16 members were later arrested by anti-riot police, who allegedly saw them throwing stones at the police.

Tafara Chirambira appeared for the State.

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