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Index of articles on enforced disappearances in Zimbabwe
abductees - trial details - Peace Watch
May 11, 2009
The bail application
for Chris Dhlamini, Gandhi Mudzingwa and Andrisson Manyere was not
finalised this afternoon. The case is still dragging on. High Court
Judge Mtshiya dismissed the State’s preliminary technical
objection to the hearing of the application, but then postponed
the case until tomorrow, when he will hear argument on the merits
of the application.
Editor Vincent Kahiya and News Editor Constantine Chimakure have
been detained in custody at Harare Central Police Station on allegations
of publishing and communicating falsehoods.
Abductees - Trial Details
Peace Watch has been
covering the cases of the political abductees from the time they
were kidnapped and disappeared last year:
While they were “disappeared” the State claimed
no knowledge of their whereabouts, and recorded their disappearances
as kidnappings. Meanwhile the Government press was reporting that
the MDC-T were training recruits in Botswana to overthrow the government
by force, an accusation repeated by the Government at a SADC Security
Ministers meeting. Botswana denied that any training was going on.
SADC set up a team to investigate, and the then Chairperson of SADC,
SA President Motlanthe, later said he was satisfied there was no
training going on.
In December the MDC said
they would withdraw from inter-party negotiations until the abductees
were produced [some were NGO peace workers and others members of
the MDC]. This led to their being “discovered” just
before Christmas in police custody [the police previously having
denied any knowledge of their whereabouts]. They were brought to
court on criminal charges, although their lawyers argued that as
victims of kidnapping they should be treated as complainants and
not accused. When the lawyers eventually had access to interview
them, they alleged they had been tortured. The magistrate after
several delays allowed them access to doctors of their choice who
confirmed injuries consistent with torture allegations. It was a
long drawn-out court battle to get most of them into hospital for
treatment and then another battle to get them bail. Three of the
accused are still in custody and awaiting their latest bail hearing
They are now being brought
to trial, some of them eight months after their abduction [Cases
1 and 3 – those accused of recruiting for training in Botswana]
and the rest five months or more after abduction [Case 2 –
those accused of sabotage].
They will be tried in
three groups in three separate trials: two involving charges of
recruiting persons to undergo military training in Botswana; and
one involving charges of insurgency, banditry, sabotage or terrorism
based on explosions that damaged police premises and a bridge. All
the trials will be held at the High Court in Harare.
No. 1: Trial Commences Monday 8th June
State v Concillia Chinanzvavana,
Fidelis Chiramba, Violet Mupfuranhewe and Collen Mutemagau
section 24(a) of the Criminal
Law (Codification and Reform) Act between 1st July and 30th
October 2008 by recruiting a certain Tapera Mupfuranhewe and other
MDC-T party youths to undergo military training in Botswana for
the purpose of committing acts of insurgency, banditry, sabotage
or terrorism in Zimbabwe, alternatively, contravening section 187(a)
or (b) as read with section 24(a) of the same Act by persuading
the same persons to undergo the same training for the same purpose.
The list of State witnesses includes Tapera Mupfuranhewe, the recruit
named in the indictment; a senior State Security officer to whom
Tapera was reporting periodically; and three persons [Terry Musona,
Fanwell Tembo and Lloyd Tarumbwa] also originally abducted at the
same time and listed among the “disappeared” until they
surfaced in protective custody as State witnesses. When they were
released by High Court order in early March it emerged that they
had been held for several months by the State, and they signed affidavits
to say they had been tortured during that time. The State also intends
to produce letters allegedly written by Concillia Chinanzvavana
and other MDC-T officials.
No. 2: Trial Commences Monday 29th June
State v Kisimusi [Chris]
Dhlamini, Gandhi Mudzingwa, Chinoto Zulu, Andrison Manyere, Zacharia
Nkomo, Regis Mujeyi and Mapfumo Garutsa,
Charges: five counts
of contravening section 23(1)(a)(i)(ii) of the Criminal Law (Codification
and Reform) Act [“insurgency, banditry, sabotage or terrorism”]
by causing explosions at police premises in Harare and at the Manyame
River Bridge near Norton on various dates in August and November
last year, alternatively, causing malicious damage to property in
contravention of section 143(a)(i) of the same Act.
The State case appears to rely heavily on an oral statement made
by Kisimusi Dhlamini to the investigating officer implicating himself
and the others, and another statement made by him on a video recorded
by a State Security officer. The admission of these statements can
be expected to be resisted by the defence, as Dhlamini has subsequently
said he was severely tortured and was prepared to say anything to
avoid the torture continuing. The State say that the police discovered
a cordtex and safety fuse in Dhlamini’s bedroom, a smoke grenade
in Mudzingwa’s possession, and ammunition in Manyere’s
No. 3: Trial Commences Monday 20th July
State v Manuel Chinanzvavana,
Pieta Kaseke, Jestina Mukoko, Audrey Zimbudzana and Brodrick Takawira
section 24(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act
between 1st April and 31st October 2008 by recruiting Ricardo Hwasheni
to undergo military training in Botswana for the purpose of committing
acts of insurgency, banditry, sabotage or terrorism in Zimbabwe
The main witness will be the individual allegedly recruited, Ricardo
Hwasheni [a police officer who is a relative of accused Pieta Kaseke].
The State also proposes to lead evidence from a State Security officer
who recorded a video of the accused persons "in connection
with their involvement in this matter" [no other details given].
Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs, Eric Matinenga, awaits
judgment, due to be handed down on 26th May, on charges of inciting
public violence during last year’s elections. His case was
heard in March, when he insisted on taking the stand and giving
evidence, as he said he wanted the truth to be told. He won the
Buhera West seat for the MDC-T in the March elections, and was arrested
on 31st May 2008 after getting a High Court order directing the
army to confine itself to its constitutional duties of defending
the nation and to stop harassing people in his constituency. He
was held at Buhera police station and moved to Mutare police station,
before being released after a few days on the basis that there was
no case for him to answer. A few days later he was picked up again
and was in custody for four weeks before being released on bail.
Deputy Minister of Transport
and Infrastructure Development, Dr Tichaona Mudzingwa, who is being
tried on a charge of attempting to cause disaffection in defence
forces in the aftermath of the March 29 elections. His case has
been constantly deferred and is to continue on Friday 15th May.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture
designate, Roy Bennett, is facing trial on allegations of possessing
arms of war. His next court appearance is not until 1st July. He
is on bail and obliged to report to police once a week.
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