Mamombe, Chimbiri Seek Con-Court Reprieve

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By Mary Taruvinga

CITIZENS Coalition for Change (CCC) officials Joana Mamombe and Cecilia Chimbiri, currently facing charges of lying against the State, are now seeking a reprieve at the Constitutional Court.

Mamombe and Chimbiri, who were allegedly abducted alongside CCC youth assembly deputy secretary general Netsai Marova, are arguing that the State is deliberately fast-tracking the case in a bid to lock them up not so that justice is served.

The two told Chief Magistrate Faith Mushure that several top Zanu PF officials had already released statements dismissing their story, adding they now feared the court will now be used to clean up the ruling party, government and President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s tainted human rights record.

Zanu PF finance secretary Patrick Chinamasa, Former Information Deputy Minister Energy Mutodi, Home affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe and the ruling party’s Director of Information Tafadzwa Mugwadi were all named by Chimbiri.

“The ruling party, Zanu PF is also desperate to cleanse its gross human rights violation tag,” Chimbiri told the court.

“This desperation is clearly being shown on the instance of police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi who announced that we had been arrested but moments later told the nation that we were not in police custody.”

Nyathi confirmed Mamombe, Chimbiri and Marova had been picked up by police officers manning a roadblock along Bulawayo Road before backtracking after realising the activists had been taken by alleged state security agents, at that time The Ferret Force.

They were found almost 48 hours later, dumped, tortured and disillusioned north of Harare.

After they were found, State broadcaster Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) published videos that insinuated Mamombe, Chimbiri and Marova had faked their abduction.

However the State led by Michael Reza and Tafara Chirambira opposed the submission of the said video clip saying the defence led by Alec Muchadehama and Jeremiah Bhamu should bring to court the ZBC producer who recorded that video clip to testify in court.

Reza is also demanding that Bhamu brings Chinamasa, Kazembe, Mutodi, Mugwadi to court to testify on what they said on record.

Chimbiri in turn told the court its behaviour shows that it is not independent and is following orders from the Zanu PF government.

She said in her case court officials were showing interests in the matter which is against the good administration of justice.

Mamombe, a CCC legislator, also told the court that their rights to equal protection and benefit of law, personal security, right to privacy and freedom of conscience have been violated by the police, court, prosecutors, rival political leaders and politicians hence the decision to opt for the Constitutional Court.

Mamombe said they want the apex court to rule on whether or not their arrest, detention, and prosecution was fair.

“We want the Constitutional Court to decide on whether or not our right to a fair hearing is being violated on account of various statements made in the public media and on social media by high ranking government officials, Zanu PF officials and Zanu PF apologists on a matter that is still sub-judice. The statements in question are derogatory to us and suggest that we are guilty of the offences in question,” Mamombe said.

The matter was postponed to February 2 for continuation of the application for referral to the Constitutional Court.