The organisation said among the 70 people, who are all represented by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) are “senior citizens” including Rihana Mhondiwa aged 68 years of Warren Park high-density suburb, Fredman Mbanjeshoma aged 68 years of Mabvuku high-density suburb, Isaac Muronzi aged 52 years of St Mary’s high-density suburb in Chitungwiza, Lucky Mutakuragumbo aged 52 years of Glendale and some informal traders, security guards and some unemployed people, who were rounded up in the CBD.Seventy Zimbabweans are currently enduring jail time after they were condemned to prison by Harare Magistrate Vakayi Chikwekwe, when they appeared in court on Saturday 27 August 2016.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said 70 people were arrested on Friday 26 August 2016 in Harare and charged with committing public violence in contravention of Section 36 (1) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.
Prosecutors alleged that 68 of the 70 people teamed up on Friday 26 August 2016 and gathered at an open space between Rainbow Towers and the Interpol offices adjacent to Harare Magistrates Court, where they convened a public meeting during which they conspired to cause “sporadic public violence.”
“The prosecutors charged that the accused persons assaulted Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers in Harare’s Central Business District (CBD), set ablaze some informal traders’ stalls at Copacabana bus terminus, stoned two state-owned vehicles belonging to the ZRP, a Scania lorry registration number ZRP535X and a Landrover Defender registration number ZRP1656D,” said the ZLHR.
“The State also alleged that the accused persons stoned privately owned vehicles, breaking open business shops and looting various clothes, groceries and property and disturbing the peace, security or order of the public.
Prosecutors claimed that all the accused persons are affiliated to pressure groups and political parties, which are against the smooth running of the state of affairs of the country.”
“Even accredited freelance journalist James Jemwa aged 40 years, is among the 70 people charged with committing public violence together with pro-democracy campaigner Gift Siziba, aged 23 years of Mt Pleasant suburb,” said ZLHR.
“Three juveniles, who include Takudzwa Marimbike aged 16 years of Kuwadzana high-density suburb and Macdonald Makwezve aged 17 years of Kuwadzana high density suburb, were released into the custody of their lawyers from ZLHR, when they appeared in court on Saturday 27 August 2016.”
Magistrate Chikwekwe also conducted remand proceedings for Almon Peta at Avenues Clinic after the 27 year-old was hospitalised at the medical facility. Peta sustained an injury at Copacabana bus terminus, where he fell on a broken glass during a stampede caused by police officers throwing tear gas canisters and water.
Regarding 35 year-old Promise Dalubuhle Mkwananzi and Bruce Usviso aged 26 years, prosecutors charged that the two were part of a group of people who gathered along Nelson Mandela Avenue in central Harare on Wednesday 24 August 2016 and went on the rampage assaulting members of the security forces and set ablaze state owned properties which include two vehicles, a Ford Ranger registration number ZRP 046R belonging to ZRP, a Mazda BT 50 vehicle registration number ACM 2668 belonging to Zimbabwe Republic Police. Mkwananzi, the State alleged, is the head of Tajamuka group.
The 70 people who are detained at Harare Remand Prison and Chikurubi Maximum Prison return to court on Monday 29 August 2016 for the determination of their bail applications, which could not be entertained when they appeared in court on Saturday 27 August 2016. By Stephen Jakes. Bulawayo24