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MDC activist approaches High Court over January violence conviction

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By Bulawayo Correspondent


PROMINENT Bulawayo MDC Alliance activist, Josphat “Mzaca” Ngulube (34) has approached the High Court challenging the dismissal of his application for discharge after he allegedly took part in the January demonstrations.

Ngulube, who contested last year’s parliamentary elections as an independent candidate in Bulawayo South constituency before joining the MDC Alliance, applied for discharge at the close of the State’s case but this was dismissed by Bulawayo Magistrate Tinashe Tashaya.

The political activist and five other people are facing charges of burning three cars belonging to former Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial Women’s League chairperson, Eve Bitu during the violent January protests.

Ngulube of Sizinda high density suburb, through his lawyer Nqobani Sithole of Ncube Attorneys, filed an application for review at the Bulawayo High Court, citing Tashaya and the State as respondents.

He wants an order setting aside proceedings of the lower court under CRB BYO P343D/19, arguing that there were gross irregularities. Ngulube also wants the matter to be referred back to the lower court under a different Magistrate.

In his founding affidavit, Ngulube said there was a grossly irregular application of criminal procedural law, which resulted in a violation of his constitutional right to a fair trial.

“The first respondent (Tashaya) in deciding my application for discharge has already exhibited his satisfaction of the fact that I am guilty before a full trial and judgment. My right to a fair trial would be violated if the first respondent were to proceed and continue to preside over the issue of determining my guilt or innocence when he has already exhibited satisfaction with proof of my guilt before my trial has been concluded,” he said.

According to the application papers, on 14 January at around 7am, Ngulube acting in connivance with others unlawfully blocked free movement of traffic at an intersection along Sizinda Road and Nketa Drive.

They allegedly went to Bitu’s residence and threw stones and destroyed a precast wall to gain access to the yard.

They allegedly destroyed window panes before torching her three cars, a Ford Ranger, Nissan NP 300 and a Toyota Vitz.

Ngulube is also facing charges of contravening the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) after he allegedly convened a gathering without notifying relevant authorities. He is out on a $100 bail.