By Staff Reporter
The State has withdrawn subversion charges pressed against two MDC Kwekwe legislators for lack of evidence to institute trial proceedings.
The MPs, Settlement Chikwinya for Mbizo and Lloyd Mukapiko for Redcliff, walked free this past week when their charges were dropped.
The case had dragged on for close to a year.
The lawmakers stood accused of participating and inciting public violence during fierce anti-government protests that rocked the country January this year.
Chikwinya and Mukapiko were arrested and kept in remand prison for 19 days as the state visited brutalities on those suspected to have taken part in the worst civil unrest to rock the country after the fall of President Robert Mugabe November 2017.
They were later granted bail by the Bulawayo High Court.
State witnesses claimed the two MPs were spotted in the Kwekwe CBD 14 January this year addressing a predominantly MDC gathering which they were inciting to engage in public violence.
In August however, Kwekwe magistrate, Story Rushambwa cleared the two of the charges of inciting public violence and participating in public violence at the close of the State case for lack of evidence.
Rushambwa indicated that the State had failed to come up with a solid case against the legislators.
The MPs denied causing or participating in public violence, insisting that the charges were politically motivated.
Chikwinya had told court he was at a local pub when the commotion started and further indicated that the State witnesses had been his political adversaries since 2000.
Mukapiko said he was at the Vehicle Inspection Department during the alleged time of the offence.
Although the magistrate cleared them of the two offences, the MPs were not completely off the hook as they still had to answer to subversion charges which were finally cleared last week.
“We gave a notice on the previous date that we were going to apply for the matter to be thrown out on grounds that it had taken unnecessarily long on remand and it was now a violation of our client’s rights as they had to continue reporting to the police and routinely come to court,” the MPs’ lawyer Brian Dube told NewZimbabwe.com.
He added, “We indicated the rights for a fair trial within a reasonable time was being violated. The prosecution on the day in question withdrew charges before plea for lack of evidence, indicating the matter could not be set down for trial as the statements in the police docket were insufficient to enable a trial to kick off,” Dube said.