Treason suspects to sue Mugabe

MTHWAKAZI Liberation Front (MLF) leaders are set to sue President Robert Mugabe, as they push to have their treason case concluded, arguing that further delays infringe on their constitutional rights to freedom.

Report by Richard Muponde

The treason case of MLF activists Paul Siwela, Charles Thomas and John Gazi has been pending before the courts for the past two years following their arrest in March 2011.

The three went on trial last year, but the trial judge then, Justice Nicholas Ndou reserved his judgment in the case in October.

He, however, left the bench in December of the same year, for Nambia, leaving the case hanging.

In an interview yesterday, Sindiso Mazibisa, who is part of Siwela and Thomas’ legal team, said they would sue Mugabe next week, in an effort to push him to reappoint Justice Ndou or appoint another judge to conclude the matter.

“We will be suing the new President to appoint a judge to deal with the matter to its final conclusion or reappoint Justice Ndou to deliver his judgment,” he explained.

“The President, according to the Constitution, appoints or re-appoints judges. Justice Ndou has to be given a reappointment letter since he left the bench.”

Mazibisa said the continued delay in finalising the treason case was an infringement on his clients’ constitutional rights.

“As you are aware, they are not allowed to travel out of the country or participate in politics, which is a total infringement of their rights,” he said.

Gazi is represented by advocate Sabelo Sibanda. The three are facing treason charges and are awaiting judgment on an application for discharge filed in October last year.

However, in April, Siwela Thomas and Gazi had their bail conditions relaxed after Mazibisa applied for the relaxation.

The Attorney-General’s Office went on to lift the 40km radius restriction and eased reporting conditions at the police from three times a week to once
weekly, but declined to release their travel documents. The three have to apply for the release of their passports whenever the need to travel out of the country arises.

Gazi’s conditions were also relaxed on June 10, two months after those of his colleagues and he now reports to the police once every month, not every week like Siwela and Thomas.  The three denied charges of seeking to overthrow Mugabe’s government through unconstitutional means.

They were arrested in March 2011 over allegations they distributed flyers bearing the logo of the Mthwakazi Liberation Front — a pressure group-cum-political party — agitating for the secession of Matabeleland.

Their lawyers applied for discharge at the close of the State case, arguing that prosecutors Lovack Masuku and Samuel Pedzisai had failed to prove that their clients had a case to answer.

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