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  • Latest update on proceedings in the Magistrates Courts
    Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
    February 09, 2009

    Remand proceedings in the matters Jestina Mukoko v. The State, Concillia Chinanzvavana and Others v. The State, Emmanuel Chinanzvavana and Others v. The State and Kisimusi Dhlamini and Others v. The State resume in the morning at the Magistrate Court before Magistrate Gloria Takundwa.

    Ms Florence Ziyambi, the Director of Public Prosecutions in the Attorney General's Office appears for the State while Mr Alec Muchadehama appears for the accused.

    Ziyambi tells the court that prison officials failed to bring the accused persons to court citing fuel shortages to transport them.

    She asks the Magistrate to postpone the matter to Wednesday 11 February 2009 to allow the State to verify the defence lawyers' account pertaining to the deteriorating medical conditions of the accused persons.

    Defence lawyer Muchadehama tells Magistrate Takundwa that the defence team is concerned about the non-appearance in court of the accused. He says it is unacceptable that the accused persons cannot be brought to court because of fuel shortages

    Muchadehama tells the court that Mukoko requires urgent medical treatment at a functioning medical institution such as the Avenues Clinic after she was prematurely denied treatment and medication at the Avenues Clinic last month.

    The defence lawyer says should the State confirm Mukoko's grave medical condition they must recommend to the Zimbabwe Prisons Service (ZPS) to take her to the Avenues Clinic even before the next remand date is set.

    Magistrate Takundwa remands Mukoko and Chinanzvavana and Others in absentia to Wednesday 11 February 2009.

    In the matter between Emmanuel Chinanzvavana and Others v. The State Muchadehama tells the Magistrate that Fidelis Chiramba who is exhibiting evidence of congestive cardiac failure secondary to sever hypertension and who had been taken for urgent medical examination at the Avenues Clinic last Friday 06 February 2009 was abruptly taken back to Chikurubi Maximum Prison.

    The defence lawyer says he wants the Magistrate to order prison officials to take Chiramba back to the Avenues Clinic to be accorded medical assessment and treatment.

    Just like in Mukoko's case Ziyambi tells the Magistrate that the State intends to verify the medical condition of Chiramba and "the outcome of the verification is what map the way forward."

    Takundwa remands the accused persons in absentia to Wednesday 11 February 2009 with the consent of both the State and the defence attorneys.

    In the matter between Kisimusi Dhlamini and Others Muchadehama complains that the court has not been appraised by the State of the outcome of the investigations.

    Muchadehama tells the Magistrate of the worrying medical conditions of Kisimusi Dhlamini and Gandhi Mudzingwa who were taken away last Friday 06 February 2009 by prison officials in the middle of a medical examination and without any regard to the medical conditions of accused persons.

    Muchadehama tells the Court that the defence team wants the State to consider the inhuman treatment of the political prisoners and to seek an explanation from the prison officials on why they decided to defy Court orders by removing prisoners from the Avenues Clinic so that the process partially undertaken by the doctors at the Avenues Clinic can be resumed without interference.

    Muchadehama also asks why the State has not furnished the court with a report on the investigations into torture allegations, which were ordered by the Magistrate Court and another investigation into the case, which was ordered by High Court Judge Justice Karwi.

    The defence lawyer asks the accused persons to be provided with a trial date and indicates that he will also make an application of recusal of further remand.

    Ziyambi intervenes saying the police have actually complied with Justice Karwi's order and a docket was submitted to the Attorney General's Office last Friday in compliance with the High Court order.

    Ziyambi also states that the AG's Office is yet to peruse through the docket to ascertain whether the investigations have been completed.

    The State's lead prosecutor hints that if a trial date is to be given it would be in the second term of the legal year, around May 2009 because the first term of the legal year is already full.

    Regarding the High Court order granted by Karwi in January with the consent of the State, Ziyambi contends that the High Court order doesn't reflect what the State had consented to. She says the State realized an anomaly upon perusal of the High Court order, which took them long to access.

    Ziyambi says the High Court order which is to the effect that, "Whatever the doctor says must be adhered to" is very ambiguous and too wide.

    She states that the State has not had sight of the medical affidavits of the doctors who examined the accused persons and will seek to verify allegations that prison officials denied the accused persons access to treatment.

    With regard to investigations into the torture allegations, which were ordered by the Magistrate Court, Ziyambi says the request has been relayed to the police and the State is still waiting for a response from the police and will furnish the court once a report is received.

    Defence lawyer Muchadehama argues that the State should now be ready with a trial date considering that State lawyers have indicated that the docket is now complete and also bearing in mind that the accused persons have been in State custody and remand custody for more than two months.

    Ziyambi tells the Magistrate that the State lawyers and the defence lawyers are failing to agree on a date for further remand on dates such as Wednesday 11 February 2009 and Friday 13 February 2009 as the AG's office is severely constrained with a critical shortage of law officers.

    Muchadehama grudgingly assents to a postponement of remand proceedings to Monday 16 February 2009.

    Takundwa defers remand proceedings to Monday 16 February 2009 and orders the State to;

    • submit a report regarding investigations into allegations of torture raised by the accused.
    • furnish the Court on the progress of investigations of their case.
    • adhere to High Court Judge Justice Karwi's order allowing for the accused persons to be granted medical examination and treatment.
    • present a report by the Chief Prisons Officer stating the reasons why prison officials are interrupting the medical examinations and treatment of the accused.

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