WASHINGTON DC —
High Court judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu on Thursday postponed the sentencing of three members of the Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai, who were recently found guilty of killing a policeman during riots in 2011.
Bhunu postponed the sentencing of Last Maengehama, Tungamirai Madzokere and Yyvonne Musarurwa, who are facing the death penalty, for two weeks following strong arguments against stiffer sentences by their lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa.
They were convicted of murdering Assistant Police Inspector Petros Mutedza in public protests staged in Harare’s Glen View suburb by MDC-T members in 2011.
It still remains to be seen whether the three will be sentenced to death as one of the country’s vice presidents, Emmerson Mnangagwa, opposes such punishment. He once faced the hang man’s noose under the colonial Ian Smith regime when he fought against colonialism.
Their co-accused, Pheneus Nhatarikwa, was granted bail.
Meanwhile, pro-democracy activists Linda Masarire, Promise Mkwananzi of Tajamuka-Sesijikile Campaign and Kerina Gweshe, who were arrested for spearheading protests against the deteriorating social and economic situation in Zimbabwe and President Robert Mugabe’s rule, have approached the courts to seek bail.
They have been denied bail several times. On Thursday, Harare magistrate Stan Mambanje presided over the trial of Masarira and 10 others, who were arrested following a complete shutdown of Zimbabwe in July this year led by exiled Pastor Evan Mawarire’s #thisflag Movement and Tajamuka.
They are facing accusations of with obstructing the free flow of traffic during the protests. The trial will continue at Mbare Magistrates Court on Friday.
The 11 are being represented by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights member, Kudzayi Kadzere.
Masarira has been languishing in prison ever since her arrest on 6 July 2016, but the other accused persons are remanded out of custody.
At the same time Tajamuka-Sesijikile Campaign national spokesperson Promise Mkwanazi, who was arrested and charged with public violence in connection a protest on alleged police brutality on August 24 in Harare, is set to appear in court Friday to appeal for bail at the High Court.
Gweshe and three others will also appear before a Justice Musakwa for a bail appeal on the same day.