Chibaya, 25 CCC activists trial continues

Tsuro, however, said Chibaya and Machingauta belittled the police officers leading to their arrests.

TWENTY-SIX Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) activists, including former MP Amos Chibaya and Costa Machingauta (Budiriro MP), appeared yesterday before Harare magistrate Sharon Rakafa on allegations of disturbing public peace.

The group was being represented by lawyers from the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum  —  Kudzai Kadzere and Chris Mhike.

The State led its testimony from witness Christopher Tsuro, who is an officer from the CID Law and Order who testified that Chibaya was driving a Ford Ranger vehicle and was at the crime scene.

Tsuro said the police arrested Chibaya in Budiriro at the said residence, adding that he spoke to him on the day in question.

He, however, said although Chibaya did not chant party slogans, he was at the scene and seemed not pleased with the police appearance during the meeting.

During cross examination by the State, Tsuro denied that the arrests were a dragnet, adding that every person who was apprehended was part of the political meeting.

However, Kadzere argued that the accused persons did not breach any law, highlighting that it is not the duty of police officers to monitor political parties’ private meetings.

Tsuro also confirmed that there was no violence committed on the day in question, but insisted that the accused persons committed a crime by singing party songs and chanting slogans.

The defence submitted that Zimbabwe is a democratic country where citizens are free to support parties of their choice.

Kadzere dismissed the allegations saying there is no law which prohibits the chanting of political slogans.

He also argued that the State witness had no names of community members who were disturbed by the accused persons’ political meeting.

He further argued that there was no report made to the police by community members concerning the matter.

Tsuro, however, said Chibaya and Machingauta belittled the police officers leading to their arrests.

But the defence argued that if, indeed, the duo belittled the police the offence should not be unlawful gathering but insulting police officers.

It further argued that the police was targeting the group because it supports the CCC. Kadzere added that the police had never stopped a Zanu PF meeting.

Mhike argued that the State witness failed to inform  the court about the whereabouts of accused persons.

The CCC leaders and supporters are being accused of disturbing public peace at a private meeting held at Machingauta’s house on January 14 last year.

Police argue that their actions were unlawful.

The matter was deferred to today for trial continuation.

Dzidzai Josiah represented the State.

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