Wednesday, 23 August 2017


A United Kingdom-based leader of a new opposition party, the Zimbabwe Economic Freedom Fighters (ZEFF), Innocent Ndibali’s application for refusal of remand was yesterday dismissed.

Ndibali (38) was arrested on Friday for allegedly violating immigration laws after addressing journalists at the Bulawayo Press Club.

Ndibali, who is the interim president of ZEFF and a holder of a British passport, appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Mr Tinashe Tashaya yesterday facing charges of failing to comply with his visa conditions in contravention of Section 36 (1) of the Immigration Act. He was remanded out of custody to tomorrow pending trial.

In his ruling, Mr Tashaya said Ndibali breached the conditions of his holiday visa by engaging in politics when he addressed journalists to market his party’s manifesto.

“Although the State has failed to prove that there was a reasonable suspicious that accused person committed the offence, it is clear that he breached the conditions of his holiday visa by engaging in politics by holding a Press Conference to market his political party. 

Accordingly, accused is placed on remand pending trial,” ruled the magistrate.
Ndibali is in the country to drum up support for his party.

Prosecuting, Mr Nkathazo Dlodlo said on August 11 this year, Ndibali entered the country through the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport in Bulawayo. The court heard that on arrival at the airport, the accused person tendered his passport to immigration officers and he was issued with a 14-day holiday visa.

On August 18 at around 7PM, Ndibali held a Press conference at a local hotel to market his party’s manifesto ahead of next year’s harmonised elections.
The event was attended by 35 journalists. “The accused person, by doing so, failed to comply with the conditions under which he was granted visa to enter the country,” said Mr Dlodlo.

He said Ndibali was supposed to solely be on holiday and not conduct any other business in the country.

Acting on a tip-off, police arrested Ndibali and subsequently confiscated his passport.
Ndibali through his lawyer Mr Jabulani Mhlanga of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights argued that there was no evidence to sustain the charge levelled against him.

“The evidence does not sustain the charge. The State outline does not establish facts linking the accused person to the alleged offence,” said Mr Mhlanga.
The lawyer said the arrest of his client was a violation of his Constitutional right as a Zimbabwean citizen.

“Although my client holds a British passport, he is a Zimbabwean who has a right in terms of the Constitution to address a Press Conference. He was merely invited to make his remarks,” said Mr Mhlanga.

He further argued that the visa granted to Ndibali did not state the conditions.
The State had opposed Ndibali’s application, arguing that there was a reasonable suspicion that he committed the alleged offence. Chronicle


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