Sec­ond Beit­bridge ‘vi­o­lent protests’ group granted bail

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Mashudu Net­sianda Se­nior Court Re­porter

THE High Court has granted $50 bail pend­ing trial to six more peo­ple who al­legedly par­tic­i­pated in vi­o­lent protests in Beit­bridge.

The group is al­leged to be part of a mob which was ar­rested on pub­lic vi­o­lence charges while protest­ing against the im­ple­men­ta­tion of statu­tory in­stru­ment No 64 of 2016 which re­moves listed prod­ucts from the Open Gen­eral Im­port Li­cence.

The protestors were al­legedly in­volved in loot­ing and van­dal­ism. They are ac­cused of set­ting on fire a Zim­babwe Rev­enue Au­thor­ity (Zimra) ware­house and ve­hi­cles worth hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars.

De­light Ma­suka, No­rah Dh­li­wayo, Joyce Mh­langa, Ryan Ny­oni and Give­more Mupfeka, all from Dulivhadz­imu sub­urb in the bor­der town, as well as Austin Takudzwa Nyakupinda of Harare, were granted bail by Jus­tice Ni­cholas Mathonsi.

As part of the bail con­di­tions, they were or­dered to re­side at their given ad­dresses and to re­port once ev­ery week at any near­est po­lice sta­tion as well as not to in­ter­fere with state wit­nesses.

Beit­bridge pro­vin­cial res­i­dent mag­is­trate, Miss Glo­ria Takundwa, had ear­lier dis­missed their bail ap­pli­ca­tion, ar­gu­ing that if re­leased, the gang was likely to dis­turb pub­lic peace con­sid­er­ing the sit­u­a­tion in the coun­try.

The mag­is­trate also ruled that due to the se­ri­ous­ness of the of­fence, there was no guar­an­tee that if given bail, the ac­cused per­sons would not ab­scond.

She also ruled that the sus­pects were likely to in­ter­fere with state wit­nesses since in­ves­ti­ga­tions were yet to be com­pleted.

The ac­cused per­sons through their lawyer, Mr Pa­trick Ter­erai of Ter­erai Le­gal Prac­tice, said the mag­is­trate was mis­di­rected when she de­nied them bail, ar­gu­ing that there was no ba­sis for the al­le­ga­tions.

“It is in­suf­fi­cient to make un­sub­stan­ti­ated al­le­ga­tions that the ac­cused per­sons would tam­per with ev­i­dence or im­prop­erly in­flu­ence wit­nesses when the risk of in­ter­fer­ence had not been es­tab­lished in this case,” said Mr Ter­erai.

“The lawyer said his clients had a strong de­fence, mak­ing them proper can­di­dates for bail. Mr Thomp­son Hove, for the state, did not op­pose the bail ap­pli­ca­tion.

The court heard that on July 1, the sus­pects, who in­clude cross-bor­der traders, ven­dors and or­di­nary peo­ple, gath­ered at Beit­bridge bor­der post main en­trance and staged a demon­stra­tion against im­ple­men­ta­tion of the statu­tory in­stru­ment 64 of 2016.

Af­ter they were dis­persed by po­lice, the protestors be­came vi­o­lent and started march­ing in groups van­dal­is­ing prop­erty and in­fra­struc­ture in the bor­der town.

The court heard that they went to a shop at Mashakada Busi­ness Cen­tre and looted a bag con­tain­ing clothes, gro­ceries and elec­tri­cal goods.

They also al­legedly bar­ri­caded roads in Dulibadz­imu sub­urb with stones and burn­ing tyres.

The ac­cused al­legedly van­dalised traf­fic lights and looted im­pounded goods which were kept at a Zimra ware­house be­fore torch­ing the build­ing.

They were ar­rested and found in pos­ses­sion of some of the looted prop­erty.

Last Tues­day, Jus­tice Maxwell Takuva granted bail to the first group of 17 sus­pects linked to the vi­o­lent protests on the same con­di­tions.

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