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WOZA leaders' trial fails to commence as state shifts goal posts
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)

December 12, 2011

The trial of tormented Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) leaders - Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu who were charged with theft and kidnapping on Monday 12 December 2011 failed to commence as state prosecutors dilly dallied. The two activists were arrested on Wednesday 21 September 2011 on charges of theft and kidnapping. During the time of their arrest they were preparing to peacefully stage a march in Bulawayo in observance of United Nations International Day of Peace. Following their arrest, they languished at Khami prison for at least 14 days before being granted bail by the High Court. On Monday, the state prosecutors exhibited a high level of confusion in this matter as they did not have critical essential documents and actors present that are required for a criminal trial. When defence lawyer - Kossam Ncube of Kossam Ncube and Partners Legal Practitioners, who is a member of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights appeared for trial, there was confusion and pandemonium at Treggold Magistrates Court in Bulawayo as the state prosecutors frantically tried to locate the docket. Although this was eventually done, there was still confusion on the court where the matter was set down, the Magistrate presiding over this matter. Once these administrative issues had been addressed, the state prosecutor discovered that only one of the three key state witnesses was in attendance leading to the postponement of the trial to 19 December 2011 for the state to put its house in order.

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