State drags feet in Mamombe trial, MP vows to challenge further remand

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By Mary Taruvinga

MDC Harare West legislator Joana Mamombe has placed the State on notice to challenge further placement on remand if not given a trial date on her next court appearance.

Mamombe (25) is facing a charge of subverting a constitutional government after she allegedly called on her constituency members and Zimbabweans to embark on “peaceful shutdown” during the ill-fated January protests.

Prosecutor Sebastian Mutizirwa told court that one witness was still outstanding. He then asked for postponement of proceedings.

The legislator’s lawyer Jeremiah Bamu said in response, “May it be put on record that if the State fails to put its house in order, we will challenge any further remand.

“I confirm the remand date is by consent. If authority fails to prosecute the accused and witness statements are still outstanding, we will apply for refusal of further remand.”

Mamombe, the first female and youngest legislator to be arrested over treason charges, is on $3 000 bail.

The state says she addressed members of her constituency in January this year during which she called on them to join countrywide protests against fuel price increases by government.

But High Court Judge Justice Foroma released her after ruling that bail was now a constitutional right.

Her freedom came after she had spent nearly a week in custody following her arrest in Nyanga last month.

She is on stringent bail conditions as she is reporting twice a week to police until her case is finalised.

Mamombe also told court that her mother was tortured before her arrest.

She unsuccessfully challenged her arrest and detention arguing it was done in violation of her fundamental rights on her initial court appearance.

Mamombe also complained that she was not advised of her charge upon arrest and that she was detained beyond the 48-hour maximum allowed by the law.

But Harare magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa ruled there was reasonable suspicion she committed an offence.

She also ruled that Mamombe lied that she was not advised of her charges upon arrest.

Vongai Guuriro Muchuhuti presided over the case.