7 MDC activists in court over Wednesday protests

Seven MDC supporters have been dragged to court on charges of disorderly conduct after they allegedly blocked free movement of vehicle and human traffic along Nelson Mandela during an aborted public address by their leader, Nelson Chamisa on Wednesday.

By Harriet Chikandiwa

Godfrey Karembera (42), Shoko Zindoga (42), Victor Maramba (20), Honzeri Zondai (37), Gift Ben (30), Rose Chitsungo (30), and Maria Tinago (36) appeared before Harare magistrate Victoria Mashamba, who remanded them to January 1 next year on $200 bail each.

Karembera, Maramba, Zondai and Tinago’s lawyer Tonderai Bhatasara told the court that his clients complained of assault by police.

“The accused were assaulted upon their arrest, using booted feet and baton sticks after they had inquired why they had been arrested,” Bhatasara said.

Allegations are that on Wednesday, the accused persons acting in common purpose with their accomplices who are still at large, gathered outside Harvest House, along Nelson Mandela Avenue, for an address titled Hope of the Nation Address (Hona) by Chamisa, which was unsanctioned.
It is alleged that the accused blocked the free movement of both vehicle and human traffic along Nelson Mandela Avenue and the nearby pavements. The police engaged them to clear the pavements, but they allegedly refused to co-operate.

The court heard that the accused persons started pelting police officers with stones and other missiles, while chanting “hatidi zvekupihwa order nemasascam” (we do not want to be ordered around by mentally deranged people), leading to their arrest.

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Meanwhile, Chitungwiza council director of works David Duma and director of housing Hazel Sithole, who are facing charges of allocating a commercial stand worth over $30 000 to Metalhill Investments without following procedure, are set to stand trial on January 14.
Duma and Sithole appeared before Harare magistrate Victoria Mashamba, who remanded them to January 14 for trial.

The court heard that on May 6, Metalhill Investments through one of its directors, Yeukai Mukucha, applied for a commercial stand to build a service station and directed the application to the town clerk.

It is alleged that the town clerk then referred the application to Sithole for processing and due consideration in accordance with the Urban Councils Act and Chitungwiza Town Council housing policy.

After receiving the application, it is alleged that Sithole forwarded the request to Duma to plan for inspection and avail a suitable land for a service station.

It is the State’s case that Duma was supposed to invite the Department of Physical Planning in the then Ministry of Local Government, the Environmental Management Agency and the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority to assess the suitability of the site.

It is alleged that after the assessment, Duma was expected to submit a report on the findings to Sithole and write a memorandum stating whether the land was available and suitable for the construction of a service station.

The court heard that Duma did not have the land inspected for its suitability and instead of following due process, he allegedly generated a memorandum to Sithole allocating stand 10606 in St Mary’s.

The State alleges that Sithole was also supposed to advertise the stand twice in a local newspaper and invite competitive bids, but did not do so.

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