By Bulawayo Correspondent
THE trial of five Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) activists facing public violence charges kicked off in Bulawayo on Thursday with the accused pleading not guilty to the charges.
The five, Partone Xaba (43), Akim Ndebele (32), Prince Ncube (28), Ndabazelizwe Ncube (38) and Mongameli Mlotshwa (33) were arrested at the Bulawayo High Court while demonstrating during the bail hearing of Ntabazinduna Chief Felix Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni.
The accused are facing charges of breaching peace and security of the public as defined in section 37 (1) (a).
Through their legal practitioner, Dumisani Dube of Mathonsi-Ncube Law chambers, the MRP activists pleaded not guilty when they appeared before Magistrate, Adelaide Mbeure.
The MRP members argued that their conduct did not in any way affect Ndiweni’s bail hearing proceedings nor did they disturb members of the public who were going about with their business.
Through their lawyer, thefive further argued that they were simply exercising their right to expression alongside the dictates of the Ndebele culture and tradition by reciting praises to honour the Chief.
“The allegations against the accused are malicious. They are being victimised for standing in solidarity with their Chief,” their lawyer told the court.
However, one of the investigation officers Sibusiso Moyo, a Detective Assistant Inspector from the Law and Order section maintained that the accused were singing and dancing thereby allegedly disturbing peace of the passer-bys.
The State led by Concilia Mathaba alleges that on 28 August this year, the accused persons gathered outside Bulawayo High Court where Chief Ndiweni’s bail hearing pending appeal was being heard.
“During the court session , the accused persons acting in concert with others who are still at large sang a Ndebele song on top of their voices which had the following lyrics “Lingamashona Lalibulala obaba” (You Shonas you killed our fathers ),” Mathaba told the court.
The State further alleges that the accused also wielded placards inscribed with the words, #Free Ndiweni; #Ndiweni’s life is in danger and Bulawayo Magistrates for Bulawayo people.
The MRP activists are expected to be back in court on September 6, 2019 for continuation of trail.