from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – A court in northern Zimbabwe has issued an arrest warrant against some police officers for failure to appear in court where the trio was expected to testify against three citizens they arrested for allegedly breaching lockdown rules.
This is an unprecedented development in a country where police are repeatedly accused of being an appendage of the government to victimise opposition officials and critics.
Chinhoyi Magistrate, Tapiwa Banda, has since set free the trio- of Emmanuel Chinanzvavana, Daniel Hove and Aldini Wairesi, who are members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance party members.
Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers on March 27, in Mutorashanga, arrested the three for allegedly partaking or convening an unlawful gathering of people numbering about 100 at a residential place.
Such meetings are prohibited under Zimbabwe’s coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown measures but critics accuse the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa of implementing such to quash opposition activities.
The trial has failed to start after two state witnesses Francis Kapuyanyika and Abel Mushipe, ZRP officers, who arrested them in March, once again failed to appear in court to give evidence.
This prompted Magistrate Banda to remove Chinanzvavana, Hove and Wairesi from remand.
This resulted in warrants of arrest being issued against the two law enforcement agents for alleged contempt of court.
Prosecutors were advised to proceed by issuing summons to compel the opposition activists to return to court if they intend to proceed with prosecuting them.
– CAJ News