By Mary Taruvinga
MDC Councillor Munyaradzi Kufahakutizwi’s acquittal on public violence charges was met with celebrations from friends, family members and party activists at the Harare Magistrates’ court Tuesday.
Kufahakutizwi, who is party Councillor for Ward 4, had endured a week inside prison walls after he was denied bail.
This followed claims he took part in recent violent protests by citizens over a fuel price hike by government.
He denied the charges.
According to the state, on January 16 at around 1pm, Kufahakutizwi and his accomplices who are still at large, connived to carry out acts of public violence in Harare’s Mabvuku suburb.
Acting in cahoots, it is alleged, they barricaded Kariyana Street Manresa Road using stones to block the smooth flow of vehicular traffic.
Kufahakutizwi was accused of stoning and damaging Zanu PF’s Munyaradzi Nyamukondiwa’s Toyota Surf which was negotiating its way through the blocked road.
He was also accused of demanding from Nyamukondiwa, an $80 “toll fee” to pass through the barricaded road.
The MDC politician’s trial was fast tracked before he was found not guilty for participating in the protests.
He was acquitted at the close of the State’s case.
During trial, Kufahakutizwi, through his lawyer Mupanga Bhatasara, had argued that “the evidence adduced on behalf of the State is so manifestly unreliable that no reasonable court could safely act on it.”
“From the evidence of the State witness, it was not established that accused acted in concert with any other identified person in committing public violence,” Bhatasara had argued on behalf of the MDC member.
“The accused was arraigned before the court alone and it is not competent for one to be charged with public violence and still appear in court alone.
“At the end of the State’s case, there is no evidence on record of the accused acting in concert to forcibly and to a serious extent, disturb peace or realising the risk or possibility.
“The State case is afflicted with irreconcilable contradictions. The discrepancies are material since the case is based on a single witness.”
His supporters and family members broke into a song as soon as his judgement was handed down by Harare magistrate, Victoria Mashamba.
Idah Maromo prosecuted.