MDC MPs remanded in custody

Settlement Chikwinya

FOUR MDC Alliance legislators yesterday appeared in court charged with inciting violent protests that rocked the country last week.

MDC Alliance National Organising Secretary Amos Chibaya, who is MP for Mkoba, Chiwundura MP Livingstone Chimina, Mbizo MP, Settlement Chikwinya and Redcliff MP Lloyd Mukapiko appeared in court in Gweru and Kwekwe.

Chibaya, who is represented by Mr Reginald Chidawanyika of Chitere Chidawanyika Legal Practitioners, appeared before Gweru provincial magistrate Ms Charity Maphosa yesterday for contravening Section 187 (1) (a) (b) Criminal Codification and Reform Act Chapter 9;23.

He was denied bail and remanded to tomorrow for continuation of trial. It is alleged that Chibaya held a meeting with some civic organisations at his house where they planned the violence that rocked Gweru on Tuesday.

After the meeting, Chibaya, is alleged to have held another meeting with his party’s youths whom he instructed to embark on the violence. He also told the youths to prevent members of the public from going to work between Monday and Wednesday. As a result, the youths barricaded a number of roads and went on to attack shops resulting in a looting spree.

Chibaya is being co-accused with 15 suspected MDC Alliance youths. Mr Samuel Pedzisai appeared for the State. Another legislator Chimina, is also facing similar allegations and was also remanded to tomorrow. Chimina appeared before Gweru regional magistrate, Mrs Phatekhile Msipa.

Mbizo Member of Parliament, Chikwinya and Redcliff MP Mukapiko were yesterday arraigned before Kwekwe magistrate Miss Vimbai Mtukwa facing charges of subverting a constitutionally elected Government or alternatively inciting public violence. They were remanded in custody to Thursday for provision of a trial date.

In denying them bail, Miss Mtukwa noted that the case was of higher magnitude that had national interest and that the two’s actions were linked to the national crisis that the country faced last week.

“While the court is aware of the rights of an individual, the same also has to strike a balance between the interests of an individual and that of the public. In this case, the case is of higher magnitude which has national interests, hence bail will not be an option,” she said.

Miss Mtukwa urged the two to apply for bail at the High Court, a process she said can still be done while in custody.

The duo’s defence counsel, led by Ms Takashinga Pamacheche of Gundu, Dube and Pamacheche Legal Practitioners, had argued that the State papers were distorted as the warned and cautioned statement did not tally with the charges laid out on the charge sheet which was produced in court.

The State led by Mr Divine Chagombera has it that on 12 January 2019, around 9pm, the two addressed a meeting at Red Lion Bar in Kwekwe inciting the public to embark on public violence under the guise of a national shut down.

On 14 January, Chikwinya, wrote a message on his Facebook timeline thanking those who had heeded the call for a mass stay away and total shut down. He further encouraged people to keep pressing the Government in whatever forms so that it will bow to the “masses’ needs”. – Sunday News