Drama at CCC activists’ trial... as Zanu PF members label police liars

The lawyers also submitted that Tagwirei exchanged words with Madaba before he intervened and stopped the dispute while the unknown persons drove away.

There was drama at the Gweru Magistrates Court yesterday where Zanu PF witnesses are testifying in the case in which Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) members are facing charges of malicious damage to property, assault and robbery.

The CCC losing candidate in the August 2023 elections for the Chirumanzu South seat Patrick Cheza and four party activists were arrested last year.Cheza (50) is being charged with Tinashe Moyo (47), Tanyaradzwa Marimbe (23), Christopher Mutoboni (33) and Alex Gamuchirai (37) for malicious damage to property, assault and robbery.

However, the witnesses, mostly, Zanu PF members contradicted evidence given by police who were at the scene of the alleged crimes. The Zanu PF activists, who are complainants in the case, accused the police of lying, arguing that the court should believe them.

In the first count that excludes Mutoboni during cross-examination by both the State and defence counsels, Philemon Madzivanyika testified that Moyo grabbed him by the belt before smashing his cellphone. He also exonerated Cheza, Marimbe and Gamuchirai.

Madzivanyika said police constabulary Francis Manenji witnessed the scuffle he had with Moyo.The accused’s lawyers Esau Mandipa and Leopold Mudisi, however, submitted to Madzivanyika that in his warned and cautioned statement, Manenji had said he was assaulted by Marimbe and Gamuchirai. 

Madzivanyika described Manenji as a “liar” for testifying contrary to his statements.But Manenji maintained that it was Marimbe and Gamuchirai who assaulted Madzivanyika.

The police constabulary member dismissed Madzivanyika’s assertion that he was holding a cellphone which was allegedly smashed by Moyo.Manenji left the court in stitches when he said he was surprised that Madzivanyika was failing to identify his aggressors. He further claimed that he was “an old man, a police officer and a man of integrity” who would never lie.

Another Zanu PF complainant, Justice Dzaguma, also gave contradictory evidence to that of a State witness identified as Kajawu.Kajawu maintained that he personally knew Cheza, adding that he was not at the crime scene that day. He also said he never witnessed anyone being assaulted.But Dzaguma accused Kajawu of lying to the court.

War veteran and Zanu PF member Ngamo Mzembi, who alleged that Cheza and the CCC members assaulted him, accused police officer Monica Dangaiso of lying.Dangaiso had testified that Mzembi was never assaulted but was asked what he was writing in his exercise book at a polling station.She also told the court the accused took a bag from Mzembi and returned it without taking anything.

Mzembi, however, argued that the CCC activists took his wallet and robbed him of US$50, a Zanu PF card and bank cards as well as a cellphone line card.In another count, a Zanu PF youth activist Abigail Madaba, alleged that she was slapped twice on the back of the neck by Cheza after being asked what she was writing in her book at a polling station.

The defence counsel, however, submitted that a police officer, Farai Tagwirei, who was at the scene, had given a statement on June 1 at Charandura Police Station indicating that he saw unknown people taking a book from Madaba.

The lawyers also submitted that Tagwirei exchanged words with Madaba before he intervened and stopped the dispute while the unknown persons drove away. Tagwirei also testified that he knew Cheza who was not part of the group.

But Madaba also accused Tagwirei of lying to the court claiming that he had an interest and favoured the CCC because his statement had differed from hers.The defence lawyers also submitted that it was surprising that all the Zanu PF complainants said they never identified the accused whom they only met in court.“These are clearly politically-motivated and trumped up charges in which the main target was Cheza while everyone believed to be his supporter was rounded up and ended up being arrested,” Mudisi said.

The CCC members accuse Zanu PF affiliate Forever Associates Zimbabwe of fabricating the charges.Gweru provincial magistrate Tavengwa Sangster postponed trial to February 22.

The last State witness, a medical doctor, is expected to testify after defence lawyers rejected Dzaguma’s medical report as fake.Allegations are that the CCC members assaulted Dzaguma at Rupepwe Primary School in Chirumanzu in May last year.They are also alleged to have assaulted Mzembi before robbing him of US$50, a POSB bank card and his Zanu PF party card.

Further allegations are that on the same date, at Mazvimba Primary School in Chirumanzu, the activists took a cellphone from Madzivanyika before damaging the pouch valued at US$3.

It is also alleged that on the same day, Cheza and Mutoboni destroyed a counterbook belonging to Julius Kunodziya at Mazvimba Primary School. The book was valued at US$1. 

The State alleges that the five disturbed the voters roll inspection exercise at the school.Taurai Mavuto is representing the State.

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