Witness bungles State case

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Blessed Mhlanga and Chengeto Chidi

BY TREVOR MUTSVAIRO
THE State’s last witness in a matter involving Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) journalists Blessed Mhlanga and Chengeto Chid, who are accused of contravening the Electoral Act yesterday, failed to identify the charge the two journalists are facing.

Phillip Chimhaka, who is deployed at the St Mary’s police station testified yesterday before Chitungwiza magistrate Isheanesu Matova.

The AMH journalists were represented by rights lawyers Jeremiah Bamu and Tapiwa Muchineripi.

During cross examination, by the defence, Chimhaka told the court that the journalists were apprehended for public disorder.

He said they were attended to by one Superintendent Matsika.

“I then heard people talking at the top of their voices. I quickly went there to check and saw accused one talking with a high pitched voice, while shouting at Matsika. There was a mob of 20 people at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) polling station,” Chimhaka said.

“Why should the court believe you when you provide a different charge from other witnesses who testified in this same case? Matsika is the one who knows the reason for the arrest, not you,” Bamu asked.

The defence further exposed State inconsistencies witnesses after Chimhaka told the court that the mob which surrounded the accused was about 20 to 50 people, yet a statement by another witness said the crowd was about 300 to 400
people.

Bamu then argued that the statements were fabricated because the witnesses failed to narrate the actual things that transpired on the day the journalists were arrested.

Bamu also dismissed assertions by the witness that Mhlanga failed to produce his identity card when asked to do so, and that he only produced a Zimbabwe Media Commission
card.

“I approached accused one and requested for his identity and he failed to produce it. I tried to cool him down, but he was overreacting,” Chimhaka said, adding, “the way he was behaving was violent and he failed to follow orders when instructed.”

The AMH journalists are accused of taking photos unlawfully at a Zec polling station.

The journalists will return to court on July 15 for ruling.

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