By Robert Tapfumaneyi
MDC national spokesperson Jacob Mafume says it was time authorities considered prosecution against state witnesses who deliberately mislead the courts while under oath in attempts to spite their political opponents.
This comes after the state recently arrested over a thousand citizens who were linked to last month’s violent anti-government protests which have been blamed on the opposition MDC by government.
Quite a number have been convicted while many have also been cleared of the charges with the latest being MDC councillor for Mabelreign, Denford Ngadziore.
Mafume felt the tendency to lie under oath in the name of politics should be brought to a stop through turning the heat on those who make what later turns out to be false accusations.
“The arrests were irregular,” Mafume said of the recent prosecutions on protesters. “The process that occurred was irregular, the detention was overboard.
“Some people lost their jobs because they were detained for weeks pre-trials; some lost their businesses and livelihoods.”
He added, “People’s lives were disrupted and most of these people were innocent and therefore the law must not only protect the accuser, but it must protect the innocent accused and in that regard, they are entitled to sue for wrongful accusations or make reports on those who were lying under oath because it is a serious offence to lie under oath and pretend that you were somewhere when clearly you were not there.”
However, Linda Masarira, spokesperson of the breakaway MDC-T party, cautioned that it would not be proper to assume all acquittals came about as a result of witnesses lying before courts of law.
“…There has to be tangible evidence to inform such opinions,” Masarira said, adding that parties that felt aggrieved by others had recourse to the law through filing civil suits for wrongful accusations.
“When dealing with issues of the law, we are forced to produce evidence. People are not tried in the courts of public opinions,” Masarira said.
Political analyst, Maxwell Saungweme said expecting counter charges against so-called lying witnesses would be far-fetched under what he described as a politically compromised judiciary.
“The expectation will be for lying witnesses to be charged in court, but expecting that from a politicised judiciary is tantamount to expecting snow in Hwange,” he said.