Wednesday 17 April 2024


 THE nine villagers who were arrested for allegedly jeering First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa in Manicaland during a raucous meeting held at Watsomba business centre in Mutasa district, Manicaland province, have had their charges withdrawn.

The incident occurred last Wednesday when the villagers reportedly failed to access freebies which Mnangagwa was doling out as part of her charitable work, triggering a wave of jeers from the nine women.

Nester Chatiwana (41), Panashe Machekanzondo (19), Winnet Sithole (19), Maria Choto (49), Esnath Choto (33), Ellen Rujuwa (28), Faith Chidhakwa (30), Patience Matasva (35) and Joyce Mashingaidza (29) were arrested during the melee.

They were being represented by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights lawyers Tatenda Sigauke and David Tandiri and were released last Friday on free bail by Mutare magistrate Prisca Manhibi.

They were expected to return to court on April 30 facing charges of disorderly conduct in a public place as defined in section 41(b) of Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

However, Presidential spokesperson George Charamba, posting on his X handle, @dhonzamusoro007, said the charges were withdrawn on Sunday.

“Both the First Lady and Police Commissioner agreed the officers on the ground overreacted. On the instructions of the First Lady, all charges were withdrawn yesterday,” he said.

In a statement, ZLHR had revealed that the prosecutors argued that the nine women had acted unlawful and abusively to Mnangagwa.

“Prosecutors charged that the women, who were seated on the ground, stood up and started booing the First Lady while she was making closing remarks during her address intending to disrupt her speech and show disgruntlement that they had not received anything from her,” the statement said. Newsday


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