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Zimbabwe's MDC Seeks Parliamentary Probe of Alleged Judicial Abuses

  • James Butty

A member of parliament for the formation of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday urged the House of Assembly to pass a motion demanding an investigation of Attorney General Johannes Tomana for abuse of the judicial system in bringing politically inspired charges against MDC legislators.

Parliamentarian Tongai Matutu of the Masvingo Urban constituency in Masvingo province tabled the motion saying Tomana, whose appointment late last year has been a main bone of contention between the MDC and President Robert Mugabe's long-ruling ZANU-PF, was clearly pursuing a strategy intended to whittle down the MDC's House majority.

Correspondent Irwin Chifera of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reported.

The MDC formation, meanwhile, was demanding an investigation of what it says was a death threat against Finance Minister Tendai Biti, who received a letter containing a bullet.

Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the MDC formation told VOA reporter James Butty that the party is taking the threat seriously & expects the police to follow through.

Elsewhere, In the Midlands province capital of Gweru lawyers for Mayor Shadreck Tobaiwa and attorney Tapera Sengweni urged a magistrate to dismiss charges they face of obstructing the course of justice. Defender Prayers Chitsa said there was no evidence for charges against his clients in connection with a rape case against Kwekwe lawmaker Blessing Chebundo.

Prosecutors say the two men approached the father of a girl allegedly raped by Chebundo seeking an out-of-court settlement. Sengweni was then representing Chebundo.

Chitsa said the girl’s father – unnamed to protect the girl’s identity –admitted that he had not been offered an inducement to drop the charges.

The father showed the court a text on his mobile phone allegedly sent by Chebundo pleading with him to withdraw the charges. Chitsa argued that Sengweni as a lawyer would not have tried to improperly influence the girl’s father in the matter.

The defender said the father of the alleged victim is a war veteran and a ZANU-PF supporter, maintaining that the charges against his clients are politically driven.

State Prosecutor Emmanuel Muchenga argued that the fact the accused did not deny meeting the girl’s father supported the charges.

Magistrate Evia Makura said she will announce Thursday if the two must stand trial.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...

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