Bulawayo’s ‘MDC seven’ accused of violence acquitted

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

A Bulawayo Magistrate last week acquitted seven suspected MDC activists accused of burning three cars belonging to former Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial women’s league chairperson Eve Bitu during the violent January protests.

The seven people were also accused of damaging Bitu’s house.

Magistrate Tinashe Tashaya acquitted Marshal Mpofu (37) Esther Mbewe (53), Fortune Masuku (29), Angeline Mwemba (41), Minenhle Mahlangu (28), Mwale Chifufu (24) and Duduzile Amisi (39) after the state found no evidence linking them to the crime.

It was the State’s case that the accused persons, acting in connivance with 100 others, unlawfully blocked free movement of traffic at an intersection along Sizinda Road and Nketa Drive.

The State was also alleging that the group went to Bitu’s residence where they threw stones and destroyed a precast wall to gain access to the yard.

After gaining entry, the group stood accused of destroying window panes before torching her three cars, a Ford Ranger, Nissan NP 300 and a Toyota Vitz.

Prosecutor, Grace Zhou had also told the court that the group also damaged the Bitu’s roofing sheets. Bitu and her family were not injured during the incident.

Zhou had also told the court that the accused proceeded to Tshabalala Housing Office and Clinic where they allegedly stoned the buildings.

Five other people who are accused of committing a similar offence are expected to appear in court next week.

The suspects who include Bulawayo South losing independent candidate Josphat “Mzaca” Ngulube (34) spent almost a month at Khami Remand prison before they were granted bail by the High Court.

Scores of people mainly political activists were arrested during the deadly protests which were triggered by sharp fuel increase announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

At least 17 people are reported to have died after Mnangagwa deployed the army which used live ammunition to quell the disturbances.