By Staff Reporter
Treason accused Kwekwe MDC legislators for Mbizo Constituency, Settlement Chikwinya and his Redcliff counterpart Lloyd Mukapiko were Friday finally freed of charges of toppling President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration.
MDC supporters who had thronged the court for judgment broke into songs and dance when Kwekwe Magistrate Story Rushwambwa delivered his judgment.
For a case which had dragged for seven months the two legislators were relieved to walk out of the courts free men.
The legislators’ were standing accused of subverting a constitutionally elected government.
The charges were related to the deadly fuel protests which rocked the country in January, leaving at least 12 people dead and dozens of others injured, many with gunshot wounds.
The State was accusing the legislators of inciting public violence in central Kwekwe in January.
They went on to languish at Kwekwe Remand prison for 19 days after being dined bail by magistrate Rushambwa only to be granted bail at the Bulawayo High Court.
State witnesses said the two MPs were spotted in central Kwekwe were they addressed a predominantly MDC gathering and incited the crowd to engage in public violence on 14 January.
The duo’s Lawyer Wellington Davira of Gundu and Pamucheche Legal Practitioners said his clients were acquitted after the State failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.
“The MPs were acquitted of the charges they were facing. They were facing charges of public violence on the alternative inciting public violence so both of them were acquitted. After the State failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt,” he said.
At the close of the State Case Magistrate Rushambwa in passing judgment indicated the State had failed to provide a solid case.
“The accused have been discharge of both charges. It is clear the two accused were not together at the said time. The first defence was corroborated by the witnesses. There was also a delay in the reporting of the case. The witnesses passed the police station twice but they didn’t report nor did they give reason on why they didn’t report the matter on time,” said Rushwambwa.
The legislators have been denying causing or participating in public violence insisting that the charges were politically motivated.
Chikwinya said he was at a local pub when the commotion transpired and indicated that the State witnesses had been his political adversaries since 2000.
Meanwhile, Mukapiko said he was at VID on the day in question