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Father Mkandla, Minister granted bail as lawyers protest against denial of food to Pastor
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)

April 19, 2011

Hwange Magistrate Peter Tomupei Madiba on Tuesday 19 April 2011 granted bail to Catholic Priest Father Marko Mabutho Mkandla and Hon. Moses Mzila-Ndlovu, the co-Minister of the Organ on National Healing and Reconciliation and Integration after they spend six and five nights in detention respectively for allegedly violating the country's obnoxious security laws.

Magistrate Madiba ordered Father Mkandla and Hon. Mzila-Ndlovu to pay bail amounting to $500 and to surrender their passports with the clerk of court. Father Mkandla and Hon. Mzila-Ndlovu were also ordered not to interfere with State witnesses.

The lawyers, Lizwe Jamela, Nosimilo Chanayiwa of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) Nikiwe Ncube of Webb, Low and Barry Legal Practitioners and Gugulethu Simango of Dube and Associates, who are all members of ZLHR raised complaints in court against the police for denying Father Mkandla food since his detention at Tsholotsho Police Station. Mkandla's lawyers told Magistrate Madiba that the police denied their client food and only gave him water during his period in detention.

The lawyers also complained about the police behaviour in denying them access to their clients and refusing to disclose the details pertaining to his detention as they moved him from one police station to another.

Lawyers also protested against the police who brought their clients while in leg irons. Police also deployed their heavily armed anti riot unit at court.

Earlier on police in Hwange on Tuesday 19 April 2011 blocked Jamela, Chanayiwa and Ncube from reaching Hwange Magistrates in Matabeleland North province to represent Mzila-Ndlovu and Father Mkandla, who were set to appear in court in the morning.

The police blocked the lawyers Jamela, Chanayiwa and Ncube from reaching Hwange Magistrates Court after they surprising set up a road block as lawyers entered into the coal mining town to attend court proceedings for Father Mkandla and Mzila Ndlovu, who have been languishing in police detention since their arrest last week.

It appears that the police roadblock had been mounted specifically to target the lawyers for yet unknown reasons.

Eight MDC supporters who were on their way to Hwange Magistrates Court were also detained with the lawyers from 10:30 am to around 17:00 hours.

When stopped at the road block, one police officer quickly jumped into the lawyers' vehicle and ordered them to drive towards Hwange Police Station. The police interrogated the lawyers about the registration of their vehicle before they were released and managed to represent their clients.

Father Mkandla and Bulilima West Member of Parliament Hon. Mzila Ndlovu were arrested on Wednesday 13 April 2011 and Friday 15 April 2011 respectively and charged with contravening the country's tough security laws such as the Public Order and Security Act and the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly convening a healing service at Silwane Primary School in Lupane, Matabeleland North, without notifying the police.

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