Eight Kwekwe residents acquitted over anti-corruption protest

KWEKWE Magistrate Livard Phelimon on Wednesday 30 August 2017 acquitted eight residents who had been on trial after they were arrested last month and charged with public violence for allegedly protesting against corruption within the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).

The eight Kwekwe residents, who were represented by Clifford Chinamatira of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights had been on trial since Thursday 17 August 2017 after they were arrested by ZRP members on Wednesday 26 July 2017 and charged with public violence as defined in Section 36 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform Act) after they allegedly protested against corruption within the ZRP during a demonstration staged by some Kwekwe commuter omnibus operators in the Midlands province capital.

As the commuter omnibus operators’ protest was aimed at exposing organised police corruption, the ZRP members reacted violently and attacked some innocent and non-violent civil citizens, including those who were not even part of the protest.

However, Magistrate Phelimon this week set free the Kwekwe residents after ruling that the evidence presented in court during trial was not reliable as it all came from some ZRP members when it was common cause that the Kwekwe residents were arrested in connection with a demonstration against alleged corruption allegedly committed by law enforcements agents.

In addition, Magistrate Phelimon ruled that the state failed to adduce evidence from an independent and impartial source.

First to be acquitted at the at close of the state case on Monday 28 August 2017 were Richard Mapfumo, Progressive Magombedze, Witness Moyo, Munemo Alafios, King Seremwe and Aaron Mutesanwa before Richard Manga and Takudzwa Wellington Ushe were acquitted on Wednesday 30 August 2017 after a full trial.

Only four Kwekwe residents who were charged separately with the eight residents for allegedly participating in an unlawfully gathering as defined in Section 37 of the same Act will stand trial, which commences on Thursday 07 September 2017.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

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