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State cases collapse in Hwange
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)

March 28, 2012

Hwange Magistrate Rose Dube on Wednesday 28 March 2012 brought relief to Catholic Priest Father Marko Mabutho Mkandla and Hwange resident Oliver Chikumba after he removed them from remand.

Father Mkandla was arrested in April last year and charged with contravening the country's obnoxious 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.

Chikumba, a boilermaker employed by Hwange Colliery Company was arrested last year and charged with contravening Section 33(2)(a)(ii) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly uttering a statement concerning the President with the knowledge or realising that there is a real risk or possibility that it may cause hatred, contempt or ridicule of the President. This was after Chikumba refused to sign the ZANU (PF) petition to denounce smart sanctions imposed on President Robert Mugabe and his close military, business and party associates and for allegedly calling for Mugabe to travel to Hwange for a personal meeting with him.

But on Wednesday, Magistrate Dube removed Chikumba from remand after the State represented by Khumbulani Ndlovu, the area public prosecutor for Hwange advised the court that he had no knowledge on the whereabouts of the docket prompting Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights senior projects officer Lizwe Jamela, to apply for his removal from remand.

On the same day, Magistrate Dube also removed Father Mkandla from remand. Magistrate Dube had on Tuesday 27 March 2012 removed from remand, journalist Mzwandile Ndlovu, who was charged with publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the State.

Ndlovu's removal from remand came after Jamela successfully opposed the State's attempts to postpone the matter. The State had attempted to postpone the matter as its house was in shambles after failing to avail in court the authority to prosecute from the Attorney General despite making some assurances on its existence and after the State witnesses failed to show up in court.

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