THREE MDC activists accused of publishing falsehoods prejudicial to the State and defeating the course of justice have been denied bail and remanded in custody to June 26.
BY CHARLES LAITON
Harare West MP Joanah Mamombe (27), Cecilia Chimbiri (31) and Netsai Marova (25) were on Friday last week remanded in custody when they appeared before Harare magistrate Bianca Makwande.
In denying them bail yesterday, Makwande said chances were high that if granted bail, the suspects would abscond given the severity of charges they are facing and, above all, a stiff custodial sentence may induce them to skip bail.
“The court is of the view that the State’s opposition of bail in respect of propensity to commit a similar offence is acceptable,” she said.
Makwande again said, if proved by the video evidence that the three were free citizens at a time they were alleging to have been abducted, they would also be tempted to skip the jurisdiction of the country’s courts, adding that the issue of negative publicity against the country, which was caused by the alleged false abduction could not be ignored.
After the dismissal of the trio’s bail, their lawyer Alec Muchadehama gave notice of his clients’ intention to challenge their placement on remand and further complained that his clients were never given food since their detention last Friday.
It is the State’s case that the trio made headlines which were aimed at tarnishing the image of the President Emmerson Mnangagwa-led government by stage-managing an abduction on May 13, 2020 after staging a demonstration in Warren Park, Harare.
However, the State alleges that Mamombe and her accomplices were instead captured on CCTV at Belgravia Shopping Centre in Harare at a time they are alleging to have been in custody of suspected State agents at an unknown place.
The State alleged that on the same day the three advised their lawyers and family members through telephone calls, text and WhatsApp messages that they had been arrested by the police at a Showground roadblock and that they were at Harare Central Police Station.
But after verifications were made by the police following a report by their lawyers, it was allegedly established that the report was false.
The State also alleges that the three women were seen by witnesses in Mamombe’s car in the capital at a time they were alleging to be State captives.