A Harare magistrate Friday ordered the immediate release of Harare Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni, who was arrested sometime this week soon after the High Court made a ruling that he should be reinstated by the Minister of Local Government Saviour Kasukuwere.
Harare magistrate Vakai Chikwekwe ordered Manyenyeni’s immediate release after he found that the Harare mayor was detained illegally prior to his arrangement before the court.
Manyenyeni’s lawyer, Lovemore Madhuku, had argued that the magistrate could not hear Manyenyeni’s case because the mayor was improperly brought before the court. This prompted prosecutor Michael Reza to call two witnesses to the stand – one a police officer and the other an official from the Anti-Corruption Commission - who contradicted each other on the exact time of Manyenyeni’s arrest outside the High Court on Wednesday.
Madhuku also called Mfundo Mlilo, director of the Combined Harare Residents Association, who testified that he called Manyenyeni on his mobile phone shortly after the High Court had passed judgement in his case and replied that he had been arrested by Anti-Corruption Commission officers.
Manyenyeni’s attorney, Lovemore Madhuku, welcomed the court’s decision.
MDC-T secretary general, Douglas Mwonzora, who attended today’s court session, said his party was not happy that the state was persecuting Manyenyeni.
"Court papers show that Manyenyeni allegedly abused his duty as a public officer when he unilaterally and single-handedly entered into a verbal agreement with two companies, Distinctive Consultancy Services and High Post Consultancy Services for the provision of shortlisting, selection and screening services for filling the post of the city’s town clerk that was later filled by James Mushore".
The state claims that Manyenyeni personally influenced the outcome of the shortlisting, selection and screening process.
Following the judgement, hordes of MDC-T supporters, who had filled the court to capacity, sang revolutionary songs denouncing Kasukuwere.