BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
A HARARE magistrate yesterday dismissed an application filed by Harare West legislator Joanna Mamombe (MDC Alliance) challenging her placement on remand, where the MP claimed that she was unlawfully arrested and was also over-detained by the police before bringing her to court for initial appearance.
Mamombe, who is facing allegations of trying to subvert a constitutional government after she allegedly addressed a Press conference over January’s fuel prices hike, appeared before magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa.
Through her lawyer Obey Shava, Mamombe had challenged the State, arguing that she was not advised of her offence when she was arrested in Nyanga while on parliamentary business.
The MP alleged that she was only advised of the offence after several hours of arrest.
According to the Constitution, a suspect must be advised of their offence before arrest.
Mamombe argued that the arresting officers drove her from Nyanga to Harare without disclosing her offence.
She also argued that she was arrested at 8am on Saturday and only appeared in court on Monday at around 10am, which is 50 hours apart.
The Constitution allows an arrested suspect to appear before the court within 48 hours and Mamombe argued she must, therefore, be released unconditionally.
But Mugwagwa, in her ruling, said Mamombe was properly arrested, saying the witness, Dennis Muroyiwa, confirmed in court that he advised her of the offence.
“Upon arrest, the accused was told of her charges. The reason that the accused persons approached the Speaker of National Assembly Jacob Mudenda to advise him shows that she was told of the reason for her arrest. The Speaker could not have let the accused person go with the police officers if she was not arrested properly,” Mugwagwa said.
The magistrate also dismissed the assertion that Mamombe was over-detained, saying the 48 hours lapsed while the accused person was in the jurisdiction of the State and was already at court.
Mugwagwa further ruled that the facts of the State outline, indeed, disclose a reasonable suspicion that she committed an offence.
The magistrate said the message of the Press conference was to demand that the fuel price be reduced.
“The message of the accused was to demand the government to reduce fuel prices and demand is what it is. You are not giving the government an option and all what is required to place an accused person on remand is to have a reasonable suspicion that she committed an offence,” Mugwagwa ruled.
Mamombe was then remanded in custody to March 19 pending indictment to the High Court.
It is alleged that on January 14 this year, Mamombe addressed a Press conference at Civic Centre in Marlborough in her personal capacity as the area legislator to urge the people to overthrow a constitutionally-elected government.
Charles Muchemwa appeared for the State.