Judge Ends Mamombe and Chimbiri’s Eight Day Detention

HIGH Court Judge Justice Webster Chinamora on Tuesday 9 February 2021 ended the eight-day detention of Harare West constituency legislator Hon. Joana Mamombe and opposition MDC Alliance party youth leader Cecelia Chimbiri, who had been incarcerated at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison after they were arrested by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) members and charged with undermining police authority.

Hon. Mamombe aged 28 years and Chimbiri aged 32 years, had spent more than one week detained at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison after Harare Magistrate Stanford Mambanje on 4 February 2021 denied them bail when they appeared at Harare Magistrates Court.

In denying the duo bail, Magistrate Mambanje ruled that it is not in the interests of justice to release them from prison and that there is little reason to trust that they will not commit offences while on bail.

But on Tuesday 9 February 2021, Justice Chinamora set aside Magistrate Mambanje’s decision after ruling that he had erred and misdirected himself in denying bail to Hon. Mamombe and Chimbiri.

Justice Chinamora ordered the duo to pay RTGS$10 000 each as bail money and to report once in a fortnight at Harare Central Police Station until their matter is finalised.

Hon. Mamombe and Chimbiri were arrested by ZRP members on Monday 1 February 2021 in Harare’s central building district and charged with undermining police authority as defined in section 177(b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act alternatively with hindering or obstructing a police officer to perform duties during a national lockdown as defined in section 11 of Statutory Instrument 83 of 2020.

Prosecutors alleged that Hon. Mamombe and Chimbiri undermined police authority by shouting and criticising law enforcement agents who were ferrying some police officers together with accused persons, who had been arrested for yet to be established charges. Prosecutors claim that Hon. Mamombe and Chimbiri questioned the wisdom of police officers in arresting people and putting them in a truck without observing safe distancing at a time when there is a risk of contracting coronavirus.

According to prosecutors, the conduct of the legislator and the MDC-Alliance party youth leader had the effect of engendering feelings of hostility towards police officers and exposing them to contempt and ridicule.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

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