Court Cases


In 1983 and 1984, I was the prosecutor at Plumtree Magistrates Court before my secondment to the Ministry of Justice, Legal & Parliamentary Affairs and transfer to Gwanda.

A Kezi magistrate was on Friday arraigned before the courts in Bulawayo for allegedly causing the disappearance of records of cases he had presided over, which were supposed to be brought for scrutiny and review at the High Court.

Stephen Mavuna (30) of Kezi, was not formally charged with criminal abuse of office when he briefly appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Tawanda Muchemwa.

He was remanded to November 30 on his own cognisance and was ordered not to interfere with witnesses in the matter.

Charges against him are that between 2009 and 2012 at Plumtree Magistrates Courts where he was stationed before his recent transfer to Kezi, Mavuna presided over criminal cases where he gave various sentences.

The sentences required that the records of proceedings be sent to the Regional Court for scrutiny and then to the High Court in Bulawayo for review and appeal before a judge within seven days of the sentences.

However, it is alleged Mavuna did not send the records to Bulawayo, but instead kept them in his office and later reportedly caused their disappearance.

The records have not been recovered and Mavuna is being accused of doing disfavour to the appellants by denying them justice.

To cover up for the offence, Mavuna allegedly made false entries in scrutiny and review registers.

This was reportedly discovered and reported to the police leading to Mavuna’s arrest and the recovery of Criminal Record Book covers in his office.

The record of proceedings was not recovered.

(Source)

A Zimbabwean man who allegedly had oral sex with a neighbour’s four year-old-daughter was on Monday granted P500 bail by a Francistown magistrate. Themba Tshuma aged 30 was granted bail on condition that he relocates to Lobatse for security reasons.

He will be staying with his grandmother while police awaits a medical report to determine his sanity. The parents of the man have maintained that the married man allegedly committed the offence with his child’s play mate because he is mentally disturbed.

He was freed after the prosecution told court that they did not have a problem with the accused man granted bail as long as he does not set his feet near the complainant or interfere with police investigations.

“The suspect was previously denied bail because he stays in the same area with the complainant and we were afraid that the angry relatives of the complainant would harm him. Since his parents have promised to relocate him to Dinatshana village near Lobatse, we don’t have any problem with him being granted bail as long as he avails himself in court when needed,” State Prosecutor Chimbise Chigala told said.

Magistrate Milidzani Masiye-Moyo then granted Tshuma bail on condition that he pays P500, provide two sureties who are also going to bond themselves with P300 each. She also ordered Tshuma to relocate to Lobatse, not communicate with the complainant and not to commit a similar offence while on bail.

Meanwhile angry parents of the complainant have criticised the court for releasing the accused man from custody flatly dismissing allegations that Tshuma is insane.

(Source)

A company director in Bulawayo yesterday appeared in court for allegedly violently confronting a police biker who was part of President Robert Mugabe’s motorcade after he had arrested his colleague for interfering with the motorcade.

Newton Mlotshwa (58), director of Nemaks Civil Engineering, was not asked to plead to charges of assaulting or resisting a peace officer as defined in Section 176 of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act when he appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Tawanda Muchemwa.

He was granted $100 bail and will return to court on November 27 for routine remand.

The State had opposed bail, arguing that it wanted to make consultations before responding to the application.

It also said Mlotshwa was not a good candidate for bail since he had tried to flee from police. However, his lawyer argued he was a law abiding citizen and a good candidate for bail.

Charges against Mlotshwa are that last Friday at Ascot shopping centre along Gwanda Road at around midday, a sergeant Jeche, who is a biker with the Presidential Escorts Unit, arrested Prayer Gavhanga for failing to pull off the road to give way to Mugabe’s motorcade, which was heading to the National University of Science and Technology.

Mlotshwa, who was a passenger in the vehicle being driven by Gavhanga, did not take kindly to the arrest. He allegedly pushed Jeche from his motorbike and violently held the bike preventing him from taking off.

It was alleged that Mlotshwa removed keys from the motorbike’s ignition demanding to know why Jeche had arrested his colleague. Jeche was only rescued by soldiers who were part of the motorcade and Mlotshwa was arrested.

Gavhanga appeared in court on Monday before magistrate Evelyn Mashawakure facing charges of contravening Section 72 (1) of the Road Traffic Act (failing to comply with lawful instructions given by a police officer controlling traffic).

He was released on $50 bail.

(Source)

The number of people, mostly ordinary Zimbabweans, who are being arrested for allegedly insulting President Robert Mugabe has swollen significantly in recent months.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) alone are representing over 50 individuals who have been dragged to court for calling Mugabe all sorts of names in anger, frustration, excitement or in jest.

Some political observers and commentators have attributed the development to growing resentment of the 88-year-old leader by his subjects, who blame him for their individual predicaments.

But other analysts blamed it on the overzealousness of the law enforcement agents who arrest the offenders, hence bringing the otherwise “common and insignificant” insults out into the public domain.

ZLHR communications officer Kumbirai Mafunda yesterday said his organisation was concerned about the growing number of arrests involving the alleged undermining of the authority of the President.

He said the fact that the human rights lawyers were representing over 50 fairly recent cases was indicative of a likelihood there were many more similar cases around the country which his organisation might not be aware of.

Ironically, according to ZLHR statistics a Mugabe insults, Mashonaland Central, the bastion of his Zanu PF party, topped the list of cases of people that have allegedly called Mugabe names.

Political analyst Alexander Rusero said the increase in the alleged insults had various reasons to it, one of which was repressive laws enacted by Mugabe’s successive administrations.

The other dimension, he said, was an indication of the growing frustration among the people of Zimbabwe over the current leadership which they found to have overstayed and responsible for their maladies.

“The implications are multi-dimensional. It is, on one hand, indicative of the problems that we have with the redundant laws of an old regime,” he said.

“The President occupies that office by virtue of his being a politician and should, therefore, be open to criticism in a democracy.This situation where we have people arrested over a slight slip of the tongue is wrong.”

“Political opponents should be free to say their minds about the President for the purpose of winning votes.”

The more worrying scenario, however, he said, was the growing number of cases of insulting the President, an indicator of deepening frustration among the people or hate of the leader.

“This is a case where the centre no longer holds. The increase in the contempt of the national leader may be indicative of rising frustration of the ordinary person,” Rusero said.

“They are amplified messages being sent to the President where you find simple villagers being bold enough to insult the person of the President without fear of the consequences, or where drunkards act in such insultive ways as tearing up images of the President or pelting his portraits.”

Another political commentator, Ibbo Mandaza, attributed the growing trend to overzealousness of the law-enforcing agents. He said cases where presidents were insulted by their subjects were common and should not be seen as unique to Zimbabwe.

“Presidents the world over are prone to public banter and political jokes. That’s the reality of politics. The problem is that our authorities are overzealous. Look, even in the United States, President Barack Obama was subjected to even racial insults. There is, however, need for careful distinction between outright insults and political jest.”

Mafunda said cases of people being arrested for such offences had increased since 2010.

The lawyers have since referred some of the cases to the Supreme Court where they are challenging the constitutionality of the sections of the law under which the people are being charged. Police use Section 33 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, which deals with “undermining the authority of or insulting the President”.

Among the people arrested is a Chiredzi man who, while drinking in some beer-hall, allegedly threw missiles at Mugabe’s portrait, apparently angry that he was jobless despite being educated.

Nyanga North MP Douglas Mwonzora, who is also MDC-T spokesperson, was arrested in March 2009 and charged for allegedly likening Mugabe to a goblin while addressing a rally.

Meanwhile, Energy and Power Development minister Elton Mangoma was yesterday summoned to appear before a Bindura magistrate on Tuesday next week on charges of insulting Mugabe. The minister was served with the summons at his government offices by two detectives from Bindura.

(Source)

A Harare man who allegedly threatened to kill a woman accusing her of trying to topple President Robert Mugabe and then demanding money to protect her has been arraigned before a Harare magistrate.

Tatenda Calton Chitumbira, 28, appeared before magistrate Olivia Mariga on impersonating police officer, public officer or public official and extortion charges.

The court heard early this month in Mufakose, Chitumbira and two other people still at large threatened to kill the woman, accusing her of trying to topple Mugabe. Chitumbira allegedly informed the woman that she was on a list of people targeted for elimination by Mugabe’s intelligence department.

According to state papers, Chitumbira demanded $1 000 from the woman as protection fees and to remove her name from the list or risk being killed. The woman, who was not named in court papers, later gave Chitumbira the money but also made a police report.

Marega remanded Chitumbira to today for bail ruling.

(Source)

The explosive and high profile divorce case pitting Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander, General Constantine Chiwenga, and his estranged wife Jocelyn Mauchaza Chiwenga finally kicked off at the High Court on Monday.

Jocelyn Chiwenga (left), the enstranged wife to commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Constantine Chiwenga leaves the High Court with her legal team after a pre-trial conference of her divorce case. (Picture by Annie Mpalume, Daily News).

Jocelyn is demanding $40 million from Chiwenga’s new wife as damages for allegedly offending her feelings and cohabitating with her partner. The army chief married Mary Mubaiwa, a former supermodel and ex-wife of former Zimbabwe soccer international player, Shingirai Kawondera.

Last year in November Jocelyn Chiwenga, claimed her marriage involved periods of physical and emotional abuse by her husband. She claimed that her husband used to beat her up and then send her to Malaysia for treatment.

Jocelyn said Chiwenga also threatened to shoot her if she ever reported the assaults to the police. “If anything happens to me after the publication of this story, the nation should know it came from Chiwenga,” Jocelyn said at the time.

Last week the couple both made an appearance for a pre-trial conference that was presided over by High Court judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu. The media has been gagged from covering the potentially explosive case.

Chiwenga is represented by lawyers Thakor Kewada and Advocate Richard Fitches while Jocelyn is represented by Advocate Thabani Mpofu and Susan Brunet. Jocelyn who married Chiwenga in 1998, says by marrying him during the subsistence of her marriage, Mary had greatly disrespected and hurt her.

“Defendant (Mary) has in full knowledge of plaintiff (Jocelyn)’s marriage to Constantine Guveya Chiwenga commenced cohabitating with Constantine Guveya Chiwenga and entered into an adulterous relationship with him,” reads part of Jocelyn’s summons and declaration filed in the high court.

“The gross impudence and insult to the plaintiff caused by the public and open conduct of the defendant in purporting to have married Constantine Guveya Chiwenga having aggravated the damages sustained by plaintiff,” she said.

Out of the $40 million that Jocelyn is demanding, $20 million is for contumelia inflicted upon her by Mary while the other $20 million is for loss of consortium. Jocelyn maintains that her marriage to Chiwenga is still valid because the pair never terminated their marriage.

In 2008 Jocelyn harangued and harassed Tsvangirai and journalists who had accompanied the MDC leader on a tour of supermarkets in Harare after Mugabe’s scorched earth policy of price freezes which left shop shelves empty.

She caused a scene at the Makro Wholesalers at Hillside in Harare, where she threatened to ‘take away’ Tsvangirai’s ‘manhood.’ In a fit of rage, she also slapped freelance photographer Tsvangirai Mukwazhi, while two other journalists sustained minor injuries in the ensuing fracas.

(Source)

Morgan Tsvangirai, the Zimbabwean prime minister, is facing a last-minute challenge to his wedding next weekend after his former fiancée filed a case in the country’s high court claiming he was still married to her and owed her maintenance.

Locardia Karimatsenga, 40, alleged in court documents that she and Movement for Democratic Change leader Mr Tsvangirai, 60, wed in a traditional ceremony at her rural home in November last year.

The wealthy commodity broker, mother of an 18-year-old daughter from a previous relationship, claims she also fell pregnant by the veteran politician and later miscarried after their brief relationship ended.

She is now seeking £10,000 monthly maintenance payments, and on Friday lodged an urgent application in Harare’s High Court for Mr Tsvangirai’s marriage to be blocked until the issue is resolved.

She claims that Mr Tsvangirai was “mentally devastated” by the miscarriage and is rushing into another marriage in a bid to forget it.

“He is a good man and if he seeks psychological and psychiatric assistance, he can return to his old condition of being a caring and loving husband,” she reportedly said in papers filed to the High Court.

Neither Mr Tsvangirai nor the MDC confirmed that Ms Karimatsenga was pregnant and she provided no proof that she was expecting a baby when the relationship ended.

Mr Tsvangirai has refused to comment publicly on the spat or the rumoured pregnancy, and is going ahead with his wedding to Elizabeth Macheka, 35, the daughter of a Zanu PF central committee member, in Harare next Saturday.

An estimated 500 guests are invited, including African heads of state, to attend the nuptials, at the exclusive Raintree Cafe, in Harare’s expensive Umwinsidale suburb.

Mr Tsvangirai, whose MDC is in an uneasy coalition with President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF, said he broke off his engagement to Miss Karimatsenga, the sister of a Zanu PF MP, in November.

He claimed in a statement that the union had been “hijacked” by Mr Mugabe’s state security agents as part of a plot to discredit him politically.

He has denied her claim that he had paid her family lobola, a dowry in customary African weddings, of £23,000, which would make her his wife, insisting that instead he had paid an acknowledgement that they had a sexual relationship.

Miss Tembo’s lawyer Jonathan Samkange, who is hoping to stand as a Zanu PF MP in forthcoming elections, claims he has ignored letters seeking an out-of-court maintenance settlement.

He told NewZimbabwe.com that Mr Tsvangirai had acted like a “cowboy or Casanova” by blaming politics on the breakdown of the relationship.

“That is not the way marriage should be terminated,” he said. “The rule of law also applies to customary laws and our traditions which must be followed.”

Lawyer, Innocent Chagonda, who has a long relationship with the MDC and Mr Tsvangirai said on Sunday: “In terms of the law there is no basis to stop the marriage. Therefore the only motive is obviously political and nothing more.”

He said Ms Karimatsenga may have had a traditional ‘union’ with the prime minister but that union ends if either partner enters into a civil marriage.

“I will not be surprised if this case is withdrawn before it gets to court,” he said.

Nelson Chamisa, MDC Information and Communication Technology minister in the inclusive government said the ‘marriage’ court case was designed by Zanu PF to undermine Mr Tsvangirai’s reputation: “It has assumed political undertones with mischievous dimensions to paint the MDC in a negative light in the eyes of the public ahead of crucial elections which we are going to win.”

(Source)

Zimbabwean police have charged Keresensia Chabuka, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Senator for Mutare, with illegal possession of firearms in a case which could once again strain relations in the coalition government.

Chabuka was charged together with Gabriel Chiwara, the MDC party’s district chairperson for Mutare North. This was after the law enforcement agents claimed to have discovered “two 9mm live ammunition” from one of the four boxes of syringes, which were allegedly sourced and donated to Chipfatsura Clinic in Marange area by the senator.

The charge comes a few days after the arrest of Martin Muchiruka, the MDC councillor for ward 4 in Mutare North constituency, on May 31 for allegedly flouting the same law. Prosecutors declined to prosecute Muchiruka and asked the police to polish up their investigations into the matter.

Chabuka has denied sourcing or donating the medical utensils while Muchiruka argued that all the boxes were sealed when the donation of the syringes were done.

The two also contend that they were not in possession of the boxes from January up to the time the police allegedly found the bullets.

Besides Chabuka, the State in 2009 also charged exiled MDC treasurer Roy Bennett, a former legislator for Chimanimani constituency, with illegal possession of firearms for the purposes of trying to commit acts of insurgency, banditry and terrorism. However, Bennett was acquitted of the charges in 2010.

(Source)

An armed robber, who was sentenced to an effective 12 years in jail, yesterday caused a stir in court after he threatened court officials and insulted President Mugabe.

Soon after the court had adjourned, Daniel Mutema (26) stormed back into the dock from the holding cell and threatened prosecutor Mr Zivanai Makwanya with death.

He bragged that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who is also the MDC-T leader, was going to rule the country and would pardon him.

“Iwewe mupfanha prosecutor ndoda kukuuraya kana ndabuda mujeri. VaTsvangirai ndivo vanenge vavekutonga next year vobva vandibuditsa. Mese muchapera (I am going to kill you once I am released from prison by Mr Tsvangirai who is going to be the president next year),” he said.

The court orderly, Constable Tracy Sekai Mukweya intervened and tried to stop Mutema from further insulting the prosecutor, but her efforts were in vain.

Mutema instead told Const Mukweya to mind her own business and accused her of being a prostitute.

He accused her of being used by President Mugabe and ZANU PF.

The armed robber further insulted President Mugabe. He was later whisked away by prison officers after wrestling with him for some minutes. Mutema is now facing a fresh charge of undermining authority of or insulting the President and will appear in court soon.

Harare regional magistrate Mr William Bhila sentenced Mutema and his accomplices Brian Juma (21) and Tatenda Nyanhemwa (21) to 12 years each in jail for armed robbery.

Mr Makwanya had called for a stiffer penalty arguing that the trio had committed a very serious offence.

“Crimes of this nature are on the increase and those targeted are taxi drivers.

“In this case they brutally assaulted the complainant and took away his belongings,” he said.

“The accused persons did not even show remorse during cross-examination. They had no mercy when they attacked him therefore they do not deserve mercy and there is no reason to suspend part of their sentence.”

On December 16 last year at around 9pm in Karoi, the trio approached Fredrick Madombiro, a taxi driver and hired him to Rydings School.

The cabman, who was in the company of three women, agreed to take Mutema and his accomplices to the school since Juma was known by two of the women.

When they were approaching the school’s main gate, Mutema ordered Madombiro to stop on the pretext they wanted to drop off and Juma suddenly grabbed him by the neck.

The three women escaped. The gang assaulted Madombiro and threatened to shoot him if he resisted.

They tied his hands with a string and took away his two mobile phones and US$1 520 cash.

(Source)

Attorney-general Johannes Tomana, a self-confessed Zanu PF supporter, says he will continue prosecuting Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC supporters ahead of those from Zanu PF — declaring defiantly, “the discretion is entirely in my hands”.

In an exlusive interview with our correspondent, Tomana — who is one of the outstanding issues of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) — reiterated his support for Zanu PF and President Robert Mugabe, Tsvangirai’s archrival-turned awkward coalition government partner.

Tsvangirai and the MDC have been demanding Tomana’s removal as one of the many pre-conditions for the holding of free and fair elections, accusing the controversial AG of prosecuting people in a partisan manner.

Without denying that some Zanu PF perpetrators of political violence were still roaming free around the country, Tomana described Tsvangirai’s calls for the Johannes Tomana threatens MDC fair application of the law as “nonsense”.

“It does not matter who we start to prosecute. Whether we start from the middle, bottom or top it does not matter. The discretion is entirely in my hands on who I should start to prosecute,” he said.

“It is like telling your manager not to dismiss you from work after you have been late for duty because yesterday your workmate who was also late was not dismissed. It is nonsense to make such a statement,” Tomana added.

Tomana’s utterances are significant as they manifest the deep political divide and the uneven playing field in the country, as well as the difficulties that the tottering coalition government, widely viewed as the country’s best hope out of a debilitating decade-long political crisis, must overcome.

“Everyone is judged on his own misdeeds. The MDC people have not said they are not committing offences. They are saying Zanu PF and them are offenders and complaining that they cannot be arrested alone leaving Zanu PF out. If you are guilty does it matter whether I have started with you leaving others?” Tomana asked.

Since taking over as AG, Tomana has been forced to repeatedly defend accusations that his blatant bias is a threat to the stability of the shaky 28-month-old coalition government.

Declaring his love for Zanu PF, Tomana said: “I do not see anything wrong in me supporting Zanu PF. Is it a crime to do so?  I know that there are some lawyers like Innocent Chagonda who sit on many boards but are active MDC members. Is it wrong for him (Chagonda) to do so? I am a citizen of this country and I belong to a political party I choose”.

As a result, Tomana said, he would not leave his post despite ranking high on the list of unresolved GPA issues.

The MDC argues that Tomana’s unilateral appointment in December 2008 was irregular because the GPA signed in September of that year stipulated that Mugabe needed to consult Tsvangirai on the appointment. Mugabe has vigorously resisted this demand.

Tomana said Tsvangirai and the MDC should instead learn to respect him.

“They always say Tomana must go. To where? I am saddened by the events that always surround my name. I don’t take it personally but it is wrong for them to pass judgments on me without any evidence. They use their political rallies to denounce my name, which is unfair to me. I wish the MDC leadership could respect me and this office,” he said.

“The MDC has shamelessly and persistently said that I must go and have passed judgments on my office.  Without any evidence they talk about selective application of the law and persecution without going into the merits.

“They (MDC activists) are being arrested for doing something they are not telling you about. They are talking nonsense saying they are being arrested and that there is selective application of the law,” Tomana added.

(Source)

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