MDC MPs further remanded in custody

MBIZO MP Settlement Chikwinya (MDC Alliance) and his Redcliff counterpart, Lloyd Mukapiko, have applied for refusal of further remand in a case where they are accused of inciting recent protests against fuel price hikes.

BY BRENNA MATENDERE

Through their lawyers Takashinga Pamacheche and Wellington Davira of Gundu and Dube Legal Practitioners, the two MPs on Thursday highlighted that the State had failed to prove a prima facie case against them.

This was after the State, led by Devine Chagombera, failed to avail papers chronicling the charges against the legislators, claiming they were being “sorted out at High Court”.

The application was placed before presiding magistrate Story Rushambwa.

Chikwinya and Mukapiko have been at Kwekwe Remand Prison since January 15.

The State alleges the two addressed people at a local pub on January 12, urging them to engage in violent protests.

The State also alleges that on January 14, Chikwinya then posted a message on his Facebook wall thanking protesters who had committed violence during the shutdown period. The MPs deny the charges, with their lawyer Davira seeking to have them removed from remand.

“The accused first appeared for initial remand on January 19. We were not given the State papers and today, they say they are waiting for them from the High Court, yet this matter is before the magistrates’ court here,” he said.

“Our clients have suffered detention first at police cells and now at remand prison. The State seems not ready for this case and, therefore, we are applying for refusal of further remand.”

Pamacheche weighed in, saying the liberty of the MPs was at stake.

However, Rushambwa dismissed the application by the defence and said he concurred with the State’s submission that it had no undertaking to submit its papers on a particular day.

Rushambwa postponed the matter to February 8.

In Gweru, Mkoba MP Amos Chibaya and his Chiwundura counterpart Livingstone Chiminya, who face similar charges, were also remanded in custody. Their bail hearing will be held on Tuesday.

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