‘We are being victimised’

MDC youth leaders Joana Mamombe and Cecilia Chimbiri believe they are being persecuted for belonging to a party that rivals the ruling Zanu PF.

The two, who are accused of faking their abduction, are seeking to have the matter referred to the Constitutional Court, arguing their constitutional rights were violated following the much publicised incident.

Represented by Alec Muchadehama and Jeremiah Bamu, the two said the conduct of the police and Zanu PF functionaries such as politburo member Patrick Chinamasa and information director Tafadzwa Mugwadi on social media give basis to their argument.  

 “They are victimised for choosing to associate with a party that rivals Zanu PF which is the MDC. There is collusion between Zanu PF and the police who were investigating the matter as seen by statements they were making,” Bamu argued in court before chief magistrate Faith Mushure.

Bamu was making an application for the matter to be referred to the Constitutional Court.

Mamombe was yesterday led on the witness stand to buttress the application, chronicling how they were abducted from the Harare Central Police Station to an unknown destination before they were discovered near Muchapondwa business centre in Musana, Mashonaland Central province.

It is their argument that the police formulated the charges emanating from statements they had given to the police following an attack on their persons when they were “abducted from the police station”.

“From their statements, the police then formulated the allegations with the main count arising from them advising their colleagues that they had been arrested and taken to Harare Central. The police themselves through their spokesperson assistant commissioner (Paul) Nyathi confirmed they had arrested the accused persons in the Daily News of May 14 2020.

“There was various publicity in public media with the State making a somersault of the confirmation they had made, raising allegations of fake abduction.

“The malicious stories include a documentary aired on ZTV and several statements from Zanu PF activists such as Kazembe Kazembe. The widespread negative publicity was meant to influence court processes and this was a violation of their rights,” Muchadehama told the court.

It is also their argument that their rights to privacy were violated as shown on the documentary which revealed that the police accessed their cellphones and downloaded texts, WhatsApp messages and call logs directly from the phones.

They said their medical affidavits were also displayed on social media which attracted several comments.

They further argued that their rights of freedom of assembly and association were violated judging by statements made by Zanu PF functionaries such as the late former Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo.

The matter will proceed tomorrow with the court giving a determination on an objection raised by the State when the defence intended to submit the duo’s affidavits.