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Minister’s assault case thrown out

Patrick Cheza

Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) losing Chirumanzu South candidate in the August 2023 elections, Patrick Cheza, says he has been vindicated after he was acquitted of charges of political violence.

Gweru provincial magistrate Sangster Tavengwa last Wednesday acquitted Cheza and four other opposition activists, saying the state had failed to prove its case.

Their lawyers Esau Mandipa and Leopold Mudisi had applied for discharge at the close of the state case arguing the latter had failed to provide any evidence of crime.

In his ruling Tavengwa said the inconsistencies by state witnesses in the matter left the courts with no option but to acquit the accused.

"We had inconsistencies with one witness saying one thing and another different thing," ruled Tayengwa.

"The law provides that where the state fails to prove a prima facie case, the court should reach a verdict of not guilty.

“The court will have to discharge you at the close of the state case and all of you are therefore found not guilty and acquitted."

In an interview with Southern Eye on Sunday  soon after their acquittal, Cheza said he and other alleged accomplices, Tinashe Moyo (47), Tanyaradzwa Marimbe (23), Christopher Mutoboni (33) and Alex Gamuchirai (37) were wrongly dragged to court on "trumped up" charges of assault, theft and robbery.

Cheza said they had to “waste financial resources and time" for more than a year as "punishment by Zanu PF" for holding different political views.

"I have been acquitted and I have been consistently saying that l did not commit any of these three offences,” he said

“I and my colleagues have been victims of politics but l tell you one day Zimbabwe is going to be free.

“I, however, feel proud of the courts that at times take a non-partisan approach and professionally deal with the matter at hand."

Cheza commended his defense counsel, saying they had to "endure hours for several months" to prove that he and his co-accused accomplices got justice.

"I applaud our defense lawyers Mandipa and Mudisi for a sterling job to ensure justice prevailed.”

During trial and cross examination the witnesses gave contradicting statements.

At one point during cross examination the court was left in stitches after the Zanu PF activists, who were complainants in the alleged offences said police who gave different versions of what happened were liars.

Allegations were that on May 31 at Rupepwe Primary School in Chirumanzu Cheza, Moyo, Marimbe, Mutoboni and Gamuchirai assaulted Justice Dzaguma, a Zanu PF activist by slapping him once on the cheek with open hands before kicking him several times.

The accused also allegedly assaulted Nhamo Muzembi before robbing him of US$50, POSB bank card and a Zanu PF card.

It was also alleged that on the same date at around 11am at Mazvimba Primary School in Chirumanzu the accused took an Itel cellphone from Philemon Madzivanyika and smashed it on the ground.

They allegedly damaged the phone pouch valued at US$3.

Taurai Mavuto and Monica Mungwena prosecuted.

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