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Trial of Zimbabwe Lawmaker Opens in Mutare

The trial of Chimanimani West Member of Parliament, Lynnette Karenyi-Kore, opened Monday with one witness testifying for the prosecution.

Ms. Karenyi-Kore and her Chimanimani West district chairperson Freddy Diwande are accused of addressing an unsanctioned political gathering.

State prosecutor Walter Saunyama called the first state witness, Inspector Ariberito Mbuwa, the officer-in-charge at Nyanyadzi Police Station, who arrested the defendants at the political gathering.

Officer Mbuwa testified that Kareny-Kore, dressed in her party regalia, and Diwande illegally addressed about 50 people at Shinja Business Centre on November 24 last year.

He also alleged that Karenyi-Kore chanted MDC-T party slogans at the gathering. He said the two MDC-T officials had not sought police permission before holding their meeting with the villagers.

Karenyi-Kore and Diwande, represented by Mutare lawyer David Tandiri, deny the charge. The parliamentarian argues she was holding a ward meeting to repair a damaged roof at Shinja Primary School and that the meeting was not political and did not require police clearance or sanctioning.

Tandiri argued that - under the current law - the police only needed to be notified of the gathering, but that their permission did not need to be obtained.

The trial magistrate instructed the accused to return to court Thursday when more state witnesses would be called to testify.

Meanwhile, MDC-T Manicaland provincial chairperson, Julius Magarangoma is expected to appear in Mutare court Tuesday to face a charge of public violence.

The MDC-T chair allegedly threatened two Zanu-PF supporters in Buhera sometime last year. Police say Mr. Magarangoma promised death would befall the two if they continued to support Zanu-PF.

Magarangoma, who denies the charge, will be represented by lawyer Trust Maanda. The start of his trial was delayed because his first defence counsel, Chris Ndlovu, was unavailable.