WAR veterans secretary-general Victor Matemadanda’s lawyer yesterday asked Harare provincial magistrate Elisha Singano to recuse himself in a case in which the former is accused of causing disaffection among defence forces and undermining authority of or insulting the President.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Matemadanda, whose bail ruling was last night rolled over to this morning, accused Singano of conspiring with the State.
Prominent human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa told the court that Singano met prosecutor George Manokore and police Superintendent Nyambo Viera in the magistrates’ chambers between 6pm and 7pm yesterday, where they allegedly conspired to further detain the war veterans leader.
“It is not legally allowed for the magistrate to meet the parties of court proceeding without the accused’s legal representatives and without the court record,” Mtetwa said.
“It is clear the court was now privy to the information, which is one-sided. We have a right to have a partial and independent judicial officer.”
She said Matemadanda’s case was similar to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangangwa’s ally Energy Mutodi, adding it was in the interest of justice that Singano would not preside over a case which he had handled before within a week.
Singano presided over Mutodi’s case, where he granted the police warrant of further detention and denied him bail, saying investigations were still ongoing.
Mtetwa said the State had not opposed Mutodi’s bail, but Singano sought to deny him his liberty without reasonable grounds.
“When the issue of bail arose for Mutodi, the State did not have compelling reasons for denying him bail. The State did not oppose bail, but you, Your Worship, incorrectly captured the law and denied him his liberty. The accused is no longer comfortable with you presiding over his case,” she said.
“Matemadanda is facing similar charges under similar sections and your previous conduct makes it impossible for you to be impartial to deal with the issues placed before you.”