Violence accused MDC Hwange MP acquitted

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Matabeleland North Correspondent

A HWANGE magistrate has acquitted MDC Alliance Senator, Rosemary Nyathi who was being accused of obstructing police from executing their duties during anti-government protests that rocked parts of the country last month.

Nyathi (56) was alleged to have been part of a group of more than 20 protestors who gathered at Number 1 bus rank in Hwange on 15 January this year intending to stage a demonstration.

She was also accused of preparing placards with words likening President Emmerson Mnangagwa to Arsene Wenger.

Wenger was forced to abandon his coaching job at Arsenal last year following years of mediocre performances by the once prosperous top English premiership football side.

According to prosecutors, some of the placards read, “Wenger must go, enough is enough”, and “No to price hikes”.

Nyathi was accused of refusing to obey police orders urging the crowd to disperse.

But Hwange magistrate, Aeline Munamati on Thursday said there was no evidence that Nyathi committed the offence.

“The State failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt to show how the accused committed the crime,” said the magistrate.

Nyathi had denied the charges through human rights lawyer Thulani Nkala.

Police initially charged her with public violence but later altered the charge to obstructing or defeating the course of justice.

Nyathi is not the first MDC MP to be arrested for offences related to the recent protests which left a trail of destruction.

Kwekwe MPs Settlement Chikwinya and Lloyd Mukapiko, together with Mkoba MP, Amos Chibaya were also arrested and charged with subversion.