POLICE have reportedly failed on two occasions to subpoena Prophetic, Healing and Deliverance (PHD) Ministries leader Walter Magaya to testify in the Mbizo Stadium stampede inquest, despite being ordered by the National Prosecuting Authority to bring him to court.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
The stampede occurred during a PHD Ministries all-night prayer at Mbizo Stadium in Kwekwe on November 18 2015, killing 11 congregants.
Lead prosecutor Fiona Mukwena had instructed the police to subpoena Magaya to the inquest hearing which was held April 6, and when he failed to appear she again instructed the police to bring him to court on Tuesday this week.
“Subpoena Walter Magaya and Humphry Musaigwa to court on April 26, effect personal service and attach return of service and submit docket before April 18,” the second instruction on the docket read.
PHD Ministries lawyer Everson Chatambudza said the police did not subpoena Magaya at any time that was why his client was not at the hearing on Tuesday.
Inspector Columbia Musvaire, who has since given evidence, told the court that Magaya was at the scene of the stampede where he was overheard calling an unnamed Cabinet minister informing him about the disaster.
“He came towards me and other police officers demanding to know why we’re standing while people were dying at the gate. He shoved one of the officers and soon after that he went on the phone and called a minister because I heard him say minister people are dying here,” Musvaire said.
On Tuesday, a Torwood woman broke down in tears and failed to control her temper as she accused a fast-food outlet operator, Amos Munzeiwa, of contributing to the stampede as congregants scurried for cover following a gas tank explosion at his outlet inside the stadium.
Netsai Gwinji got emotional when Munzeiwa denied the charge. She accused him of lying to the court about circumstances leading to the stampede.
Police have also accused Munzeiwa of having caused the stampede after one of his gas bottles exploded, triggering panic in the stadium.
But Munzeiwa told the court that the stampede could have been avoided had PHD Ministries staff provided guidance to the thousands of people in the stadium on the exit points.
He further told the court that the main gate was locked, forcing the crowd to use a small gate to exit the stadium.
The matter was postponed to May 17 when PHD Ministries head of security on the day and Magaya are expected.