HARARE – MDC youth leader Solomon Madzore, accused of calling President Robert Mugabe a “limping donkey” is being transferred from police custody to remand prison despite a Bindura magistrate granting him bail.
Due to a law which allows prosecutors to veto bail granted to accused persons for seven days to give them time to appeal, magistrate Elisha Singano’s bail ruling counted for little.
Prosecutor Munyaradzi Mataranyika invoked Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, claiming he wanted to appeal against the $100 bail order.
The section gives prosecutors powers to notify the court of their intention to challenge a bail order and, in such cases, the suspect remains in custody pending the hearing of the appeal.
This means Madzore, who recently spent more than a year in remand prison on separate charges of murdering a policeman, will be staying at the remand prison up to seven days.
Party supporters who were gathered outside the courtroom broke into song and dance soon after the proceedings as Madzore was taken to remand prison.
Madzore allegedly insulted Mugabe during an MDC rally held at Mushumbi Pools Business Centre in Guruve on April 27 this year.
The 38-year old is accused of labelling Mugabe a “limping donkey, who is making it difficult for (Prime Minister) Morgan Tsvangirai to rule properly in the unity government”.
It is a crime in Zimbabwe to insult the person or office of the president and, like Madzore, dozens of MDC officials and supporters are currently before the courts on such charges.
Madzore is denying the allegations.
Clad in a black leather jacket, a black pair of trousers and brown sandals, Madzore looked unmoved as he sat patiently in the dock before thanking supporters for attending the court session.
Mataranyika had opposed bail, arguing that Madzore would abscond if granted bail.
He also said Madzore was not a suitable candidate for bail because he has a pending murder case before the High Court.
Madzore is on trial together with 28 other MDC activists on accusations of murdering a police inspector in Harare’s Glen View suburb in 2011.
Mataranyika said Madzore did not have a house and any assets of value hence should be locked away until the finalisation of his case.
But Madzore’s lawyer Charles Kwaramba successfully argued for bail, saying Mataranyika’s assertion that Madzore could abscond was flimsy.
Kwaramba said people would rot in jail if the courts were to use the ownership of property as a basic guide to granting bail, adding that Madzore had surrendered himself to the police and was not a flight risk.
Kwaramba said Madzore was “almost free” on the murder case that Mataranyika referred to, basing the argument on High Court Judge Chinembiri Bhunu’ s statements when he granted Madzore bail on the murder case. – Tendai Kamhungira