2 MDC legislators charged with treason; refused bail

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By Staff Reporter 

TWO MDC legislators accused of subverting a constitutionally elected government were Saturday denied bail by Kwekwe Magistrate Vimbai Mutukwa.

Redcliff MP Lloyd Mukapiko and Mbizo counterpart Settlement Chikwinya appeared in court Saturday following their arrest the previous day.

They were refused bail and remanded in custody to 24 January 2018.

According to the State, the duo incited public violence in central Kwekwe on 12 January 2018 while addressing a meeting at a city pub.

Representing the State, prosecutor Devine Chagombera, told the court that the violence led to the loss of lives and destruction of property.

“Allegations are that, on 12 January and at around 21:00hrs, the two accused persons addressed a public meeting at Red Lion Bar in Kwekwe inciting the general public to embark on public violence Code Named ‘National Shutdown’.

“This resulted in various civic groups committing acts of violence in areas like Gweru, Gokwe, Harare and Bulawayo resulting in the loss of other people’s lives whilst others were seriously injured,” said Chagombera.

He added, “Thereafter, on 14 January, Settlement Chikwinya wrote a message on his Facebook timeline thanking those who heeded the call for a mass stay-away and a total shutdown.

“He further encouraged people to keep on pressurising the government in whatever forms so that they will bow to the masses needs.”

However, urging bail for his clients, defence lawyer Takashinga Pamucheche argued that the State’s case was defective.

“The State needs to put its house in order,” he said.

“The State has provided the court with a defective charge sheet which does not state the reason for the arrest or even the name of the arresting officer.

“I therefore plead with the court to give my clients bail based on the illegality of their arrest.”

Still, the magistrate declined bail, stating that the case was of a “high magnitude (with) national interests” at stake.

“While the court is aware of the rights of an individual, the same also has to strike a balance between the interests of the individual and that of the public,” the court ruled.

“In this case, the case is of high magnitude which has national interests, hence bail will not be an option.”

She advised the lawmakers to apply for bail at the High Court.