‘Political hand in Chi-town deputy mayor trial’

BY own correspondent

FORMER Chitungwiza deputy mayor Jabulani Mtunzi’s lawyer has made an impassioned appeal to the courts not to be used as podiums to settle political scores as he made his closing submissions in a trial in which his client is alleged to have incited people to burn down a police station during last month’s protests.

The trial, which took a new twist on Monday after Mtunzi and his co-accused Richard Mutswiri Mutiti told the court that there was a political hand behind their arrest.
Chitungwiza magistrate Nyasha Vhitorini said he would give judgment on the case tomorrow.

Mutiti is being represented by Tinomuda Shoko.

Mtunzi’s lawyer, Job Sikhala told the court that allegations against his client were fabricated by his political enemies, who were trying to use the courts to settle political scores.

“Courts must reject to be used as podiums to settle political scores, especially by losers who are trying to take a chance that if the first accused is taken to prison, they have the chance to become councillors and become mayors in Chitungwiza,” he said.

Mtunzi told the court that he was surprised to see, after a trial session, the State witness Tawanda Hongoro with a campaign manager of a Zanu PF losing candidate he had contested against in last year’s elections.

Sikhala poked holes into the State case, particularly Hongoro’s evidence that he had identified Mtunzi’s face through campaign posters in Unit M and Unit K.

“How would a person who wanted to be a councillor in a ward paste his posters in other wards lest he had wanted to be a senator or presidential candidate?” he asked.

“So critical is the evidence by the first State witness that he happened to know the accused person through posters, but when the investigation officer took to the witness stand he said the witness had told him that he had known the accused for many days before the event.”

Sikhala said the evidence of a single witness to obtain a conviction must be consistent and correct in all material respects. He said the State witness was consistently conflicting his evidence throughout the trial.

He added that video evidence produced in court showed that his client was not present during the disturbances.

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