The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has barred a jailed officer convicted by a court martial of insulting President Robert Mugabe from approaching the High Court, it has been learnt.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Comfort Kawere, a Silobela-based police constable, is languishing in jail at Bulawayo’s Fairbridge police detention centre.
Kawere is serving a 14-day jail term and this week had his attempt to challenge both his conviction and sentence at the High Court thwarted after guards allegedly refused to allow him access to his lawyers.
Kawere’s lawyer, Archibald Madzima, told NewsDay that an attempt to challenge the arbitrary sentence and detention through the Bulawayo High Court on Monday stalled after police refused him access to his client.
“We had intention to file an appeal against the conviction and sentence of our client by police in an unconstitutional disciplinary hearing and had prepared an affidavit following instructions from Kawere. I wanted him to sign the affidavits before filing them, but the police refused us access to our client, they said we could only see him after he serves his jail time,” he said.
Kawere had cited Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, a Superintendent Mushawembiri and Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo as respondents.
The police officer also sought to have proceedings of a disciplinary hearing conducted on January 21 at Kwekwe Central Police Station set aside and his detention at Fairbridge Detention Barracks declared unlawful.
Kawere, through his lawyers, is also arguing that the ZRP broke its own rules and the country’s laws by trying him without legal representation of his choice and without giving him notice or the chance to bring his own defence.
“In terms of the Police (Trials and Boards of Inquiry) Regulations of 1966, I was legally entitled to be given at least 72 hours’ notice of the hearing, but unfortunately Mushawembiri discarded that for no lawful and reasonable justification,” the affidavit read.
Madzima said the ZRP had been unwilling to allow Kawere to mount a challenge against his illegal conviction and had not been responding to any correspondences from them.
Kawere was arrested after he allegedly defaced Mugabe and Chihuri’s portraits, accusing the two of causing his misery.