By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
4 March 2014
Three MDC-T activists, alleged to have played a part in the murder of police inspector Petros Mutedza in May, 2011, were on Monday set free after the state decided to withdraw charges against them.
Two of the three suspects Jackson Mabota and Tarisai Kusotera, both MDC-T youth members in Glen View, were arrested one and half years after Mutedza’s death. The third suspect, Chenjerai Douglas Muchinenyika, was picked up in May 2013, two years after the alleged murder.
Defence lawyer Gift Mtisi said the state withdrew charges against the trio following their application last week Friday for refusal of further remand. Mtisi said the state had failed to find any incriminating evidence against Mabota, Kusotera and Muchinenyika.
Originally 30 MDC-T activists were arrested a few days after the murder, during disturbances in Glen View. After spending almost two years in police custody, twenty-one of the activists were acquitted by High Court judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu in 2013 for lack of evidence.
However, seven of them still face charges after Justice Bhunu ruled that the State had proved a prima facie case against them. Of the seven, four were granted bail late last year. The remaining three, Last Maengahama, Tungamirai Madzokere and Yvonne Musarurwa, who were all incarcerated at Chikurubi, were granted bail in January this year.
An elated Mabota told SW Radio Africa that he was glad he was a free man at last and castigated the police for going on a fishing expedition when they arrested him and other activists.
‘I knew I was innocent all along. I knew that I hadn’t done what they accused me of doing. We realized after we were arrested that the police had a list of all prominent Glen View MDC-T activists and wondered which direction the investigation was leading to, as the arrests no longer had anything to do with the murder but political affiliation,’ Mabota said.
He added that he was hopeful the trial of the remaining seven members will produce a similar outcome as some of the accused were nowhere near the scene of the crime on the day in question. The trial resumes on the 24th March.
‘A person like Maengahama, he was in church as he does every Sunday when the incident happened. They are so many witnesses who can place him there and not the crime scene,’ Mabota said.