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  • Violence, recrimination and arrests after policeman's death in Glen View - Index of articles

  • Crisis Report - Issue 222
    Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
    September 19, 2013

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    Glenview 29 acquittals: ‘Nothing to celebrate’

    An emotional atmosphere gripped the High Court in sunny Harare as hugs and tears were exchanged to mark the acquittal of 21 activists in the Glenview 29 murder trial who walked scot-free after being pronounced not guilty by Judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu at about midday on September 19.

    But acquitted Solomon Madzore, the Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai (MDC-T) Youth Assembly leader and the party’s shadow Minister of Youth, Sport, Art and Culture, who spent 405 days in remand prison at Chikurubi Maximum Prison, said there was nothing to celebrate.

    “I suppose this was supposed to be a moment of jubilation, moment where we celebrate our acquittal,” Madzore said. “But there is nothing to celebrate given the fact that seven of us remain charged, they have all been placed on their defense.

    “It’s a scenario where this thing came a bit too late.

    “I mean we spent in excess of a year and in the case of Simon Mapanzure, he was behind bars for more than two years.”

    Madzore said he was “disappointed” about his prison stint, but felt more disappointed about the fact that one of the accused Rebecca Mafukeni who died at Parirenyatwa Hospital under prison guard and after she had gone blind owing to her illness on the morning of August 12, 2013 did not have the opportunity to taste freedom, or witness the judgment being passed.

    “Instead of being happy I am very disappointed that Rebecca did not make it outside,” he said. “So for me whether I had spent a year, two years, or ten years behind bars, at least I got an opportunity to be outside.

    “I am alive – what of Rebecca?”

    The judge refrained from passing a judgment in the case of the late Mafukeni.

    Cynthia Manjoro, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (Zimrights) Programs officer who was one of the accused persons and was detained in prison for over seven months, broke down clearly overcome with emotion as she hugged one of the lawyers Jeremiah Bhamu, who consoled her, as she left the High Court.

    “I feel relieved it’s been a painful two years, very difficult two years and I am glad it’s finally over,” Manjoro said. “It’s overwhelming, it’s just this freedom – it’s overwhelming.

    “Everything that comes with it, I will process in a month or two.”

    Passing the judgment, Justice Bhunu said that Madzore, accused 27, and Manjoro, accused 10, had suffered unnecessarily during their long incarceration because the prosecution team had failed to fault their alibis from the beginning of the legal proceedings in May 2011. During their legal battle to regain freedom, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition did documentaries of the two democracy activists where they expressed frustration at being unjustly incarcerated.

    Leading defense lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, who had applied for discharge of the Glenview 29 said her hope had been that all the accused persons would be acquitted because the State’s case “did not meet the required standard for persons to be put on their defense”.

    “The judge has determined that seven have a case to answer and the rest have been acquitted,” she said. “We obviously had hoped that all of them would not be put on their defense.

    “So when we resume we will deal with the case of those who have been put on their defense.”

    The seven who were put on their defense by Justice Bhunu are Tungamirai Madzokere, Yvonne Musarurwa, and Last Maengahama, Lazarus Maengahama, Phineas Nhatarikwa, and Edwin Muingiri, and Paul Nganeropa Rukanda. Justice Bhunu stated that the prosecution team had proved that these 7 activists had been seen by one Inspector Nyararai and Constable Solomon Mushaninga or otherwise had a prima facie case to answer. Their trial will continue on an unspecified date.

    The Glenview 7 accused persons, who have been put on their defense, are being charged of murdering a Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) inspector, Petros Mutedza, in Glenview 3 suburb where the activists were having a social braai in May 2011.

    The High Court, Court A, was packed to the upper auditorium well before the scheduled time of the court session which was delayed by 51 minutes as the judges did not show up until 10.51 am.

    Those who have been acquitted are: Solomon Madzore, Cynthia Fungai Manjoro, and Keria Gweshe Dehwa, Gabriel Shumba Banda, Stefani Takaidzwa, and Stanford Mangwiro, Oddrey Sydney Chirombe, Jepheas Moyo, and Abina Rutsito, Memory Ncube, Tendai Maxwell Chinyama, and Lovemore Taruvinga Maguire, Linda Musiyamhanje, Tafadzwa Billiart, and Simon Mudimu, Simon Mapanzure, Zwelibanze Dube, and August Tengenyika, Francis Vambayi, and Nyamadzawo Gapare,.

    Among those in the court was Irene Petras, the director of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), several other civil society leaders such as Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development’s (ZIMCODD)’s Hopewell Gumbo, five MDC-T shadow ministers including Nelson Chamisa, Theresa Makone, Lucia Matibenga, and Paurina Mupariwa, journalists, relatives of the accused and members of the public.

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