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Court Acquits 21 MDC-T Activists Facing Charges of Killing Cop

Cynthia Manjoro (right) seen outside the courtroom soon after she was acquitted with 20 others.
The High Court on Thursday acquitted 21 of the 28 activists of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai accused of killing police inspector Petros Mutedza some two years ago in Glen View high density suburb.

The court, however, said the remaining seven others have a case to answer. One died last month.

Acquitting the 21, who included MDC-T national youth chairman and Dzivaresekwa lawmaker Solomon Madzore, Justice Chinembiri Bhunu said police had either produced discredited or failed to provide evidence linking them to Mutedza’s murder.

He said Madzore had suffered the misfortune for being arrested and incarcerated for nothing.

The acquitted include Tungamirai Madzokere, Maengahama brothers Last and Lazaras, Yvone Musarurwa, Phineas Nhatarikwa, Edwin Muingira and Paul Ganeropa Rukanda.

There were tears of pain and joy outside the courtroom as relatives hugged their loved ones and celebrated their released.

One of the 29, Rebecca Mafukeni, died last month in remand prison. And for Cynthia Manjoro, one of those acquitted, it would have been good having Rebecca around today, she told VOA Studio 7.

Madzore said he cannot celebrate their acquittal as seven of their colleagues still face murder charges.

Fifty-five year-old Kerina Gweshe said she is happy to be free, adding she was being persecuted for being an MDC-T member.

MDC-T national organizing secretary, Nelson Chamisa, who was in court during the judgment, said though they are excited that the 21 have been freed, they would have wanted to have all of them set free as they have not committed any crime.
He said they were simply being persecuted for their political beliefs.

Mutedza was stoned to death on May 29, 2011, in Glen View leading to the mass arrest of MDC-T activists in the area. After screening, the police detained the 29 in remand prison for more than a year. They were also granted bail last year but four have been languishing in remand prison since their arrest.