Zim opposition legislator charged over elections protest as cop attempts to evade questions over Biti’s persecution

THE Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) on Thursday 16 August 2018 charged Costa Machingauta, an opposition MDC Alliance party legislator for Budiriro constituency with public violence for allegedly participating in protests staged in Harare early this month over delays in announcing the results of harmonised elections to 31.

Machingauta, who is represented by Tarisai Mutangi of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights was summoned to report at Law and Order Section at Harare Central Police Station, where he was charged with public violence as defined section 36 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

ZRP officers alleged that Machingauta engaged in acts of violence in Harare’s Central Business District on Wednesday 01 August 2018 together with some MDC Alliance supporters during a demonstration held on Wednesday 01 August 2018 in the capital city to protest against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s management of the harmonised elections held on Monday 30 July 2018, which reportedly resulted in the destruction of property and left six people dead after they were shot by some members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.

Machingauta becomes the 32nd person to be charged with committing public violence during the elections protest following the arrest of Tendai Biti, one of the MDC Alliance party leaders, David Zvavamwe Shambare, Shadreck Mashayamombe, Tapiwa Joni, Ngonidzashe Makazhu, Michael Mheta, Simbarashe Mujeye, Judith Chacha, Lilian Mahosi, Anna Chezhira, Angeline Mukoki, Agatha Mubaiwa, Chancellor Nyamande, Livenice Kachana, Tichaona Daniel, Farai Nyamhunga, Mercy Mataramvura, Munyaradzi Chibanda, Samson Nerwande, Raymond Machakaire, Tapiwa Naume Khamu, Tendai Torerwa, Christopher Nikisi, Tonderai Chakona, Justin Mugashu, Simbarashe Zvobgo, Trymore Mubaiwa, Searchmore Mutegude, Kudakwashe Katunhu, Last Vambe and Jeff Chaitezvi, who are all out of custody on bail.

Meanwhile, Biti appeared at Harare Magistrates Court, where his lawyers continued with the cross-examination of Chief Superintendent Jealous Nyabasa, who attempted to avoid answering some tough questions from the opposition political party leader’s legal practitioners.

Biti, who was arrested last week in Zambia and charged with contravening section 66 (A) (1) of the Electoral Act for allegedly announcing unofficial presidential results for the 2018 harmonised Elections and with committing public violence as defined in section 36 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act is challenging his remand and the court’s jurisdiction saying he is improperly appearing before the court since he was abducted from Zambia by Zimbabwe authorities in defiance of a lawful High Court order issued in the neighbouring southern African country.

Biti returns to court on Friday 17 August 2018, where his lawyers will continue with cross examining Nyabasa, who reportedly arrested Biti.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

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