Military intelligence bosses have waded into the ongoing trial of the four men accused of attempting to bomb the First Family’s Gushungo Dairy plant by approaching the High Court seeking a gag order against the media.
BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
The order was sought in the matter involving Owen Kuchata, Borman Ngwenya, Solomon Makumbe and Silas Pfupa, who are facing treason charges in an alleged foiled bombing of President Robert Mugabe personal company last month.
Ngwenya, Makumbe and Pfupa are all military personnel and have links to the military intelligence department.
In an urgent High Court chamber application filed last Friday, the military was granted an order to have the proceedings held in camera and the media gagged from reporting even from the record of events.
However, the military’s bid yesterday fell by the wayside when presiding magistrate Vakai Douglas Chikwekwe dismissed the order, saying it was meant to usurp his powers and had an effect of directing him on how to handle the trial.
“The order leaves a lot to be desired. Any application should have been first made in the court a quo (this court). Therefore, the order is wrong both at law and in fact,” Chikwekwe ruled.
Chikwekwe said the magistrates’ court was a properly constituted court created by the Constitution and, as such, enjoyed its rights from the supreme law, hence its work could not be interfered with.
“The conduct of the Registrar of the High Court is a nullity and the purported order is tantamount to direct this court on how to do its business. The order is not legal and is void ab initio (from the beginning),” he said. It is ironic that the military sought the gag order on the same Friday that First Lady Grace Mugabe attacked the institution for being involved in a plot to murder her son Chatunga at a rally in Chiweshe.
The case was remanded to March 1, 2016.