State witness admits to lying in CCC activists protest case

0
1143

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
A-STATE witness in the trial of opposition MP Johana Mamombe and four others who are accused of violating COVID-19 regulations yesterday admitted in court that he lied while giving his statement to the police.

In his statement to the police, he had said the accused (now Citizens Coalition for Change CCC members) were chanting MDC Alliance (their former party) slogans while partaking in an ‘illegal’ protest in May 2020.

Mamombe is being jointly charged together with Cecilia Chimbiri, Stanley Manyonga, Makomborero Haruziviishe and Lovejoy Chitengu.

The five CCC members appeared before magistrate Taurai Manuwere.

State witness Tevedzerai Shonhai, a senior police officer, struggled to answer questions during cross examination by top human rights lawyer Alec Muchadehama who is representing the five accused together with another lawyer, Gift Mtisi of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (Zlhr).

They are accused of holding a protest in Warren Park, Harare sometime in May 2020 during a COVID-19 lockdown, and violating the containment measures spelt out in a Statutory Instrument.

During cross examination, Shonhai said the protestors were not violent, but were singing and chanting slogans while holding placards inscribed ‘Unlock us or we will revolt’, ‘Where is our COVID Money’, and Ngaaende Ngaaende (He must go).

 He said those messages formed the slogans that the protestors were chanting.

Muchadehama asked: “So if someone tells us that you told the police that the protestors were chanting MDC slogans, he will be lying?”

“Yes,” Shonhai replied.

Muchadehama said paragraph seven of Shonhai’s statement to the police said they were chanting MDC slogans contrary to the slogans he narrated in court.

“Yes,” Shonhai responded after several minutes of silence.

Further asked to explain the meaning of slogan, Shonhai said he will need to research.

Earlier on, Shonhai stunned the court after he said he was able to single out Mamombe amongst the protestors because he had been following her as an MP who is also attractive.

He said he was not aware of the charges that Mamombe and her co-accused were facing.