MDC outcry as another MP convicted on trumped up charges
By Lance Guma
09 July 2009
The MDC MP for Chipinge South, Meki Makuyana, was on Thursday convicted on ‘trumped up charges’ of kidnapping. Magistrate Samuel Zuze sentenced Makuyana to 18 months in prison with hard labour - 6 months were suspended. This means the MP will serve an effective 12 months in prison. This brings to 4 the number of MDC MP’s, all from Manicaland Province, who have been convicted and sentenced to jail by magistrates on the ZANU PF payroll. Coincidentally all the MDC MP’s targeted so far beat ZANU PF cabinet ministers in last year’s parliamentary elections.
Last month Shuah Mudiwa, the MP for Mutare West, was sentenced to 7 years for allegedly kidnapping a 12 year old girl. Chimanimani MP Lynette Karenyi was convicted of allegedly forging her nomination papers and Chipinge Central MP, Mathias Mlambo, was accused and convicted of inciting public violence. Given the brutal election violence perpetrated by ZANU PF last year it would appear that only the victims are being targeted, while no senior official from the former ruling party has faced justice for anything.
On Thursday MP Makuyana was taken to prison while his defence team, led by lawyer Langton Mhungu, put together an appeal in the High Court in Harare. Three other MDC activists, Simon Chaya, Wedzerai Gwenzi and Hardwork Masaiti the councilor for Ward 26, were also jointly charged with him. An MDC statement said the party was concerned ‘by the continued persecution and harassment of its members and MPs by the state through the Attorney-General’s office, in an attempt to decimate its structures and reverse the party’s majority in parliament.’
This year alone over 6 MP’s from the MDC have faced trumped up charges. Deputy Agriculture Minister designate Roy Bennett and Mutasa Central MP Trevor Saruwaka, were also taken to court. Meanwhile MP Mudiwa told our Behind the Headlines series that he was convicted for allegedly kidnapping a 12 year old girl. But he says that on the day in question he was watching wrestling on his laptop computer with a group of policemen at his shop. The judge, surprisingly, claimed it was not possible to watch TV on a laptop.