By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
9 June 2014
Nine MDC-T youths accused of assaulting the former party deputy treasurer-general, Elton Mangoma in February, have been found not guilty of the attack.
Harare magistrate Milton Serima told the court on Monday that he found the evidence from three state witnesses to be unreliable and false. The nine youths, who were linked to the party’s security department, had maintained their innocence throughout the trial against them.
Defence lawyer Douglas Mwonzora, who is also the MDC-T spokesman, told SW Radio Africa that the witnesses, Pardon Maengahama, Lastone Julias and Thabani Mlambo gave three separate versions of what happened on the day.
“The witnesses claimed to have been there during Mangoma’s alleged assault but they gave three versions of events forcing the magistrate to rule that their evidence was manifestly unreliable,” Mwonzora said.
A video that was produced by the state in an attempt to nail the accused, which showed the skirmishes before, during and after Mangoma’s attack, apparently helped exonerate the youths.
Mwonzora explained that three people, who have yet to be arrested or charged, are clearly shown assaulting Mangoma outside Harvet House, and that none of his clients appear on the video.
“The police have shown no interest in arresting the culprits and even Mangoma appears not interested in having them arrested. The magistrate too was surprised that the same people have not been brought to book,” complained Mwonzora.
The former Nyanga North MP said the whole episode had been used to tarnish the name of the MDC-T and its leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
“We are happy that our disciplined and loyal cadres have been acquitted of this violence. This event has been used by ZANU PF, state agents and our opponents to try to paint the MDC T as a violent party. This is part of their de-branding crusade. Fortunately today justice was done and the truth came out,” he added.
Meanwhile the trial of the seven remaining MDC-T activists charged with the murder of police Inspector Petros Mutedza in Glen View four years ago, resumed at the High Court on Monday.
The trial was however postponed to Tuesday to allow the state to view a DVD copy of a church service conducted by United Family International Church (UFIC) leader, Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa.
The DVD allegedly proves that one of the accused, Last Maengahama, was in church and not anywhere near the scene of the crime. Maengahama is one of the seven MDC-T members who were in September last year put to their defence, following the acquittal of 21 other party activists by High Court Judge Chinembiri Bhunu.
The others still facing trial are MDC-T councillor for Glen View Ward 32 Tungamirai Madzokere, Yvonne Musarurwa, Paul Rukanda, Lazarus Maengahama, Edwin Muingiri and Phineas Nhatarikwa.