Moses Matenga

Former Zanu PF Member of Parliament and MDC Alliance losing Parliamentary candidate for Harare South constituency, Shadreck Mashayamombe and 22 other MDC Alliance supporters who allegedly staged a violent protest in Harare, appeared in court Monday facing charges of public violence with the state arguing against granting of bail as the country’s political situation was still volatile and fluid.

Ruling on the bail application has been set for Tuesday by Magistrate Nyasha Vhitorini.

The protesters allegedly participated in burning vehicles and properties as they protested a perceived delay of the announcement of Presidential election results last week by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

In the melee, the state says at least six people died while several others were injured after the army opened fire to disperse the protestors.

The state led by Prosecutor Michael Reza is opposing bail, describing the accused as a threat to society given the fluidity of the political atmosphere prevailing in the country.

“The state is going to give evidence that it is more of a certainty that the accused persons will interfere with evidence and will not attend trial,” Reza said.

He said most of the accused persons were arrested after dodging the police and sought refuge at the MDC Alliance headquarters, known as the Morgan Tsvangirai House. These are the people who knew the police where looking for them yet they were running away,” Reza argued.

“Some were observed by witnesses setting cars on fire, stoning offices, including those of Zanu PF. The evidence is there and the witnesses are known.

“We are looking at the current political environment. It is common cause that the political climate is fluid, volatile and even on Monday, there were messages circulating on social media where people were being told not to go to work. It can’t be said the situation out there is normal. It is not. There are people whose property has been damaged, businesses affected, innocent people’s motor vehicles were burnt, and innocent lives were lost,” he said.

“If we go with what is in the press, there were innocent people going about their normal business but were caught up in the crossfire. The situation as it was there is still subsisting. The state is saying these are people with unfinished business outside.

“Being here, for them, is a minor setback. If they are freed, they will go back to their original agenda. There are more cars to be burnt, more people to be beaten up and if bail is granted, that would clearly undermine the judiciary system and people will not have faith in the bail system,” he said.

Reza also said there was a possibility the accused could skip out of the country with or without travelling documents if they are granted bail as the country’s borders were porous.