Mutare magistrate Noah Gwatidzo on Wednesday acquitted Mutare Mayor Tatenda Nhamarare of assault, a charge emanating from factional fighting in the Movement for Democratic Change formation of former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai ahead of the July 31 national elections last year.
Nhamarare was jointly charged of assault with former Housing Minister Giles Mutsekwa and bodyguards Kingstone and Raphael Mutandi.
The four were accused of severely assaulting city councilor Crispen Dube at the height of factional fighting in the MDC-T as candidates and their supporters jostled to control certain areas in the eastern border city.
Gwatidzo discharged Nhamarare saying the state had failed to establish a case against the accused. The magistrate said during cross examination of state witnesses, it had been proved that Nhamarare had, in fact, tried in vain to restrain his colleagues who are alleged to have assaulted the complainant.
Gwatidzo said the other three - Mutsekwa and the two Mutandi brothers – should stand trial on February 10, 2014.
Mutsekwa is accused of giving orders to the assailants to beat up political opponents within his party.
Mutsekwa was vying for the Dangamvura/Chikanga constituency while Crispen Dube was part of a campaign team backing Arnold Tsunga for the same constituency, and for that he crossed Mutsekwa’s path, the court was told.
Tsunga eventually won the seat after appearing on the ballot paper for the polls with Mutsekwa and other candidates.
Mutare lawyer Chris Ndlovu, who represented the four, said he is elated the magistrate acquitted the mayor.
Mutare councilor for Ward 19, Kudakwashe Chisango, said those who assaulted the councilor should face the full wrath of the law.
The court heard that Mutsekwa, Nhamarare, Kingston and Raphael Mutandi assaulted Dube on June 7 last year at Zesa’s Megawatt Building accusing him of de-campaigning Mtsekwa, who was battling against party rival Tsunga in the Dangamvura- Chikanga constituency.
According to the State, Mtsekwa incited the three accused persons to ‘deal’ with the complainant. It is alleged that Mutandi grabbed Dube by the collar and head-butted him once.
The State further alleged that Nhamarare and Raphael Mutandi then joined in the assault, beating the complainant with clenched fists and kicking him all over his body.
Dube sustained cuts on the upper and lower lips, five loosened teeth, a painful left elbow, painful left hip and bruises following the assault.
Fortunate Chasi appeared for the state.