Wednesday, 20 April 2022

NO STATE WITNESS : MAMOMBE TRIAL POSTPONED

CCC activists Joana Mamombe and Cecilia Chimbiri’s trial on charges of faking their abductions in 2020, was postponed at the Harare Magistrates Court yesterday after a State witness failed to attend court.

Ms Venenzia Muchenje, a police officer who was expected to testify, fell sick and could not attend the trial.

Prosecutor, Mr Michael Reza told the court Ms Muchenje was bedridden.

Mr Reza indicated that Ms Muchenje confirmed her condition, adding that a doctor gave her two weeks’ bed rest.

Ms Muchenje was one of the police officers who were manning a roadblock along Harare-Bulawayo Road near the Exhibition Park where Mamombe and Chimbiri claimed to have been arrested before being taken to Harare Central Police station and later driven to a secluded place where they were subjected to torture.

“I had an opportunity to speak to Chief Superintendent Moyo and who said the witness was actually admitted to hospital.

“I also had an opportunity to speak to her and she said she was bedridden,” Mr Reza said.

He successfully applied for the trial to be deferred to May 4.

Mamombe and Chimbiri, through their lawyer Mr Alec Muchadehama, consented to the postponement.

When Ms Muchenje initially testified, she told the court that no one was arrested at all from 2pm when they assumed duty on the day in question.

She also testified that she never saw a Mercedes Benz with women on-board during the time she assumed duty at the roadblock at around 2pm.

Ms Muchenje said a man approached them about a few minutes after they went on duty asking whether they had arrested anyone and they told him they had not.

Circumstances leading to the arrest of the activists are that on May 13, 2020 at around 12.30pm, the duo, together with Netsai Marova, teamed up with other MDC-Alliance youths and gathered at Choppies Supermarket in Warren Park 1.

Marova is on the run.

They then allegedly staged a demonstration against the recall of their party’s MPs from Parliament and the alleged misuse of funds for Covid-19 by the Government.

It is alleged that on the same day, they called their friends, family and lawyers saying they had been arrested at a roadblock near the Showgrounds in Harare and were taken to Harare Central Police Station.

Upon receiving the communication, their lawyer Mr Jeremiah Bamu allegedly went to the police CID Law and Order section where he communicated with Detective Chief Inspector Chibaya, saying the three had been arrested and taken to Harare Central police station.

According to the State, 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 alleged.

On May 15, at around 1am, Mr Bamu advised the police that the three were at Muchapondwa Business Centre in Bindura. The police and Mr Bamu went to the business centre in Bindura, collected the trio and took them to hospital in Waterfalls, Harare, since they claimed to have been tortured.

On May 19, 2020, Netsai Marova was interviewed by Detective Chafa to the effect that she was abducted and tortured by the police.

Mamombe and Chimbiri were later interviewed on May 25, 2020, according to State.

It is said investigations by the police revealed that they were never abducted, but stage managed the kidnapping. Herald

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