By Nomalanga Moyo
7 March 2013
The 14 MDC-T supporters arrested Saturday on charges of hindering a police officer from executing her duties have been remanded in custody after their bail application was dismissed.
The activists, who were being detained at Chegutu police cells, have since been transferred to Kadoma remand prison, their lawyer Tonderai Bhatasara said.
Bhatasara said magistrate Togarepi Zhou ruled that it was not in the best interests of justice to grant the activists bail.
He said he will be appealing the magistrate’s decision at the High Court.
Speaking to SW Radio Africa Bhatasara said: “The reasons are not clear in the judgement. It would appear that the court agreed with the prosecution who were arguing that the addresses of the accused need to be verified.
“The state also said the 14 did not have identity cards when they were arrested.
“However, in our bail application we addressed these issues, and indicated that the police had had ample time to verify addresses between Saturday, when the 14 were arrested, and Tuesday when they appeared before the magistrate,” he added.
The 14 were arrested while on their way to Gweru for a constitution publicity campaign launch, addressed by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
They were part of a group of 57 MDC-T activists who were travelling on a Munenzva bus whose driver was arrested at a roadblock for “travelling ahead of schedule”, according to the police.
The police allege the 14 the disembarked from the bus and confronted an officer, demanding the driver’s release. They are charging them under Section 184:1(g) of the Criminal Law (Reform & Codification) Act.
The 14 are Kennethy Nyanhindi (29), Friday Matawire (19), Chigwada Tatenda (22), Masenda Benson (22), Archieford Mutsagwa (29), Waison Chapfungamoyo (29), Tendai Katsariga (28), Terrence Perk (30), Nash Ngoroyemoto (25), Elisha Mandizvidza (34), Michael Gondo (31), Simba Murigwa (42), Rodwell Madziyire (age not given) and Trouble Hasha (40).
Responding to the arrests, the MDC-T said in a statement issued Monday that it was disturbed by the selective application of the law by the police.
The statement reminded the police of acts of violence perpetrated against opposition party supporters by ZANU PF supporters, who are yet to be arrested.