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Defiant State invokes Section 121 of the CPEA to veto Bindura man's bail
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)

July 06, 2011

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) condemns the spiteful and groundless actions of the State in vetoing a bail order granted in favour of Bindura resident Oliver Mukombwe, who is accused of undermining police authority.

Mukombwe, the Movement for Democratic Change treasurer for Bindura district, who is accused of contravening Section 177 (a) (1) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 was granted $20 bail by Bindura Magistrate Charles Murove when he appeared in court on Wednesday 6 July 2011.

But Clement Kuwanda, a police prosecutor, invoked the notorious Section 121 of the Criminal Evidence and Procedure Act (CPEA) to suspend the bail order which had been granted to Mukombwe.

Kuwanda alleged that Mukombwe undermined the authority of the police when he made a statement in a public place on 2 July 2011 along Church road in Chipadze Township, Bindura, Mashonaland Central province directed at Nemiah Caleb Muzinda, a police constable stating that; "Makajaidzwa naMugabe. Munofunga kuti chipurisa chinoshamisa here? Zvenyu zvokupinda nechiZANU PF hazvina basa saka ini ndinoda kukuuraya", which the prosecutor translated to mean "You have been spoiled by Mugabe. You think the police work is special? Your joining of the force through ZANU PF partisanship is useless, so I want to kill you."

Alternatively, the State is also charging Mukombwe, who is represented by Belinda Chinowawa of ZLHR with contravening Section 89 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.

The intransigent invocation of Section 121 of the CPEA suspends the bail order for seven days pending the filing of an appeal by the State in the High Court.

ZLHR is perturbed by the malicious and obdurate actions of the State in continuing to unnecessarily infringe upon the fundamental right to liberty of accused persons by bringing up Section 121 of the CPEA. This is despite the fact that the constitutionality of Section 121 of the CPEA is being challenged in numerous cases which are yet to be heard by the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe.

ZLHR is concerned at the frequent abuse of this draconian piece of legislation, which is used to the prejudice of suspects as prosecutors are clearly usurping the powers of the judiciary who in this case had safeguarded the fundamental right to liberty of Mukombwe.

We remain concerned about the increased number of cases in which Section 121 of the CPEA has been arbitrarily and unjustifiably invoked, particularly against members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and other genuine human rights defenders in Zimbabwe.

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