RUSAPE – MDC Manicaland deputy treasurer David Tekeshe and party activist Willard Nyazorwe have been acquitted of disorderly conduct and assaulting police officers after a lengthy trial.
Magistrate Shingi Mutiro set the duo free citing gross inconsistencies and conflicting accounts by State witnesses.
Three police officers, two constables and a chief inspector testified during the trial.
Magistrate Mutiro ruled that the police interrupted a peaceful celebration by MDC members after one of their colleagues had been granted bail.
Magistrate Mutero also concurred that Tekeshe had bitten the cop in self-defence.
Tekeshe had admitted during trial to biting the cop but insisted it was only to save his skin in a sustained assault by more than 20 baton-wielding cops.
He also maintained that he was justified in resisting an illegal arrest as he was merely celebrating the release of a colleague on bail after he had been arrested as he sought permission to convene a demonstration in Rusape in October 2015.
The State was alleging that on October 23, 2015 the duo led an attempt to hold an illegal demonstration against President Robert Mugabe before they insulted and assaulted police officers.
“There is no law which prevents people from celebrating… such people cannot be arrested for disorderly conduct,” the magistrate said in his ruling, adding that both the police order to disperse the MDC activists and the assault were illegal.
“No police officer is entitled by law to use more force than is necessary and the evidence points to the accused biting in self defence,” Mutiro charged.
The magistrate accused the two constables — Ticahona Merika and Rozalla Ndlovu — of lying to the court that they had not seen Tekeshe being assaulted or seeing him covered in blood contrary to their superior chief inspector Brian Makomeke’s open admission.
Mutiro threw out the constables’ narrative as being patently false to cover up for the brutal assault of Tekeshe.
“The accused persons’ claim that they were assaulted could not be reasonably be deemed false considering that they admit that they had come anticipating a demonstration. One wonders why the two denied that the accused persons were assaulted. They are clearly trying to hide something,” Mutiro said.
Mutiro also noted that the cops were not agreed on what the duo said during their arrest, with Mereka saying Tekeshe said police were Mugabe’s dogs — something Makomeke claimed was said by Nyazorwe.
The magistrate also said it was unbelievable that any party slogans and songs were sung as none of the State witnesses remembered anyone of the said songs.
“The court wonders how the people present at the same place, at the same time could have the different versions of what transpired. It’s strange that there can be three truths,” Mutiro said.
Public prosecutor Tirivanhu Mutyasiri had earlier in the case tried to salvage the case by abandoning a long-list of State witnesses after the three cops turned hostile to the case by giving conflicting reports.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights’ duo of Blessing Nyamaropa and Taurai Khupe were representing the duo.