By Bulawayo Correspondent
A Bulawayo magistrate Tuesday acquitted MDC activist, Josphat “Mzaca” Ngulube (34) who had been arrested and charged with contravening the Public Order and Security Act (POSA).
Ngulube, who contested last year’s parliamentary elections as an independent candidate in Bulawayo South Constituency before joining the MDC early this year, was facing charges of convening a meeting without notifying relevant authorities.
He was being charged alongside two other persons and were out on $100 bail each.
Bulawayo magistrate, Lizwe Jamela acquitted Ngulube and his co-accused at the close of the State’s case after noting that the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond any reasonable doubt.
In acquitting Ngulube, the magistrate said the evidence led by the State falls short of the threshold of establishing a prima facie case.
“The evidence does not prove the essential elements of the alleged offence and is manifestly unreliable that no reasonable court acting upon it will convict the accused.
“Putting the accused person on their defence under the circumstances will not be proper as it will amount to a fishing expedition meant to bolster the State’s case,” Jamela said before acquitting Ngulube.
Prosecutor Tendai Zhou said on July 13 this year, Ngulube submitted a notice of public demonstration due on July 17 to the police.
Zhou alleged that the regulatory authority for Bulawayo Central District noted that Ngulube had not given a seven day notice as required by the law and advised him to that effect.
“On July 15, Ngulube was invited to the regulating officer’s office for consultations and amendment of his notice to meet the dictates of the law but he refused.
“On July 12 at around 12pm near Pick ‘n Pay Hyper, Ngulube went ahead and convened a public demonstration where about 30 people had gathered. Alert police officers observed the accused whilst addressing the gathering and was arrested.”
Meanwhile, Ngulube will be back in court on November 11 before Magistrate Tinashe Tashaya for judgement in a public violence case dating back to the January protests.
Ngulube allegedly burnt three cars, destroyed a precast wall and broke several windows of a house belonging to Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial women’s league chairperson Eva Bitu.