MDC-A trio finally granted bail
HIGH Court judge Davison Foroma has freed three MDC-Alliance youth leaders — Harare West MP Joanna Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova — on $10 000 bail each, in a case where they are accused of faking their abduction.
The trio was denied bail by Harare magistrate Bianca Makwande last week who emphasised that the alleged abduction case had attracted international attention with serious repercussions on Zimbabwe’s economy.
Justice Foroma noted that there was misdirection by the magistrate in denying the three bail and granted their appeal against her ruling.
The three will deposit $10 000 bail, report thrice a week to the police while their passports will remain with the clerk of court.
They were also ordered not to interfere with witnesses and not to communicate with the public or private or social media directly or indirectly regarding the matter until it is finalised.
Yesterday, the trio also appeared before regional magistrate Ngoni Nduna who remanded them to July 10.
Allegations are that on May 13 at around 12.30pm, the accused and other MDC-Alliance youths gathered at Choppies Supermarket in Warren Park 1 and staged a demonstration against the recall of their party’s MPs from Parliament and the alleged misuse of funds for the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic by the government.
On the same day, it is said they called their friends, family and lawyers saying that they had been arrested at a roadblock near the showgrounds and were taken to Harare Central Police Station.
Upon receiving the communications, their lawyer Jeremiah Bamu went to the police CID Law and Order.
Bamu is alleged to have told one detective chief Chibaya that the accused had been arrested and taken to Harare Central Police Station.
Reports are that checks were made and it was established that they had not been arrested.
On the same day, social media platforms and local newspapers were awash with news that the three had been arrested.
It is said on May 15, at around 1am, Bamu advised the police that the three were at Muchapondwa Business Centre in Bindura.
The police and Bamu went to Muchapondwa Business Centre, collected the trio and took them to a hospital in Waterfalls as they claimed to have been tortured.
On May 19, 2020, Marova was interviewed by one detective Chafa and she said she was abducted and tortured by the police.
Mamombe and Chimbiri were later interviewed on May 25, 2020, according to the State.
Claims are that investigations by the police revealed that they were never abducted and they had stage-managed the kidnapping.
It is also alleged that during the time of the said kidnapping, they were at Belgravia Shopping Centre.
The State alleges that they were seen at around 1645pm in a Mercedes Benz which was being driven by Mamombe.
The State claims it has video footage showing the three at Belgravia Shopping Centre.
The alleged false kidnapping statements are said to have attracted adverse comments locally and internationally.
On May 20, 2020 heads of mission for the European Union, France, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Romania, Sweden and heads of mission for Norway, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States issued statements condemning the abductions and kidnapping of the three women.
On May 17, 2020, a United Kingdom newspaper, The Guardian, published a story “Zimbabwean MDC activists abducted and sexually attacked” as a result of the alleged falsehood.
On June 10, 2020 some special rapporteurs made statements condemning the said abductions.
The alleged falsehoods were aimed at tarnishing the country and derailing its economic recovery efforts and undermining public confidence in law enforcement agents, especially the police, the State claims.