Sol­dier sues bosses over de­ten­tion

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Feature/local News - Mashudu Net­sianda

A SOL­DIER has taken the Zim­babwe Na­tional Army (ZNA) to court chal­leng­ing his de­ten­tion at Mutare Cen­tral Re­mand Pri­son for al­legedly ab­scond­ing from work.

Bless­ing Chipanda through its lawyers Dube, Mguni and Dube Le­gal Prac­ti­tion­ers, last Wed­nes­day filed an ur­gent cham­ber ap­pli­ca­tion at the Bu­l­awayo High Court cit­ing ZNA Com­man­der Lieu­tenant-Gen­eral Philip Va­le­rio Sibanda and the Com­man­der of Mutare 3 Brigade as the re­spon­dents.

He is seek­ing an or­der di­rect­ing the re­spon­dents to fa­cil­i­tate his im­me­di­ate re­lease from the re­mand pri­son pend­ing trial at a mil­i­tary court.

Chipanda, in his found­ing af­fi­davit, said his two-month de­ten­tion at a re­mand pri­son in Mutare was a vi­o­la­tion of his con­sti­tu­tional rights. “I have been in cus­tody since May 4, 2016, both un­der mil­i­tary cus­tody and re­mand pri­son with­out trial. My con­sti­tu­tional rights have been vi­o­lated in that I have been de­tained for more than 48 hours and have not been brought be­fore any court of law. There is no le­gal frame­work al­low­ing for in­def­i­nite de­ten­tions un­der our laws,” he said.

Chipanda wants the court to or­der his im­me­di­ate re­lease from cus­tody and have him sum­moned to at­tend the court mar­tial when­ever it is ready to deal with his case.

“I’m ad­vised by my le­gal prac­ti­tioner that I am en­ti­tled to my im­me­di­ate re­lease in terms of sec­tion 50 (3) of the Con­sti­tu­tion. Such vi­o­la­tion still per­sists and I have been ad­vised by army of­fi­cials that I am sup­posed to be taken to Harare for court mar­tial, but how­ever, they in­di­cated to me that they are not sure as to when they would re­ceive a sig­nal from the De­fence Forces Le­gal Ser­vices Direc­torate to take me there,” he said.

He also al­leged that his lawyer was de­nied the war­rant of his com­mit­tal and other rel­e­vant pa­pers re­quired to pre­pare his de­fence be­cause the date of the mar­tial-court has not yet been con­firmed

Chipanda said he de­vel­oped a men­tal ill­ness on the day he was sup­posed to re­turn to work prompt­ing him to seek as­sis­tance from prophets.

“I had trav­elled to my ru­ral home in Karoi when I de­vel­oped a men­tal prob­lem on Jan­uary 24 and I had to seek the in­ter­ven­tion of prophets af­ter fail­ing to get help from clin­ics and hos­pi­tals,” he said.

Chipanda said he only man­aged to re­turn to work on May 2 and he was im­me­di­ately put un­der closed ar­rest for de­sert­ing.

The army has not yet filed op­pos­ing pa­pers.

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