Simba Makoni Trial To Start September 15

Harare,Zimbabwe,15 August 2009

Dr Simba Makoni appeared before a magistrate in Bindura yesterday for an initial hearing on charges of violating the discredited POSA, which the Inclusive Government claims is no longer in use.

The court determined that there was indeed a case for Dr Makoni to answer and that he should face trial.

He immediately asked for a postponement of the trial because his lawyers have not received the State's papers in his case. The court granted this and postponed the matter to September 15 (ironically the First anniversary of the moribund Global Political Agreement).

The complaint was made by two ZANU PF people in the area of Glendale. One is a ZANU PF Councillor and the other is a member of the ZANU PF executive in the area.

The allege that Makoni "sent a team to advertise his presence with a loudhailer" in Glendale and that Makoni later arrived at Tsungubvi Shopping Centre and used the loudhailer to address more than 400 people.

Even if he had actually done this, it is still against the law, apparently. It was during a campaign period and he was running for the presidency. But campaigning is against the law unless the government led by your rival says otherwise?

Dr Makoni is denying the charge, of course and rightly so.

As I have said before, I was with him during that trip to Glendale and nothing of the sort alleged by these two ZANU PF people took place. Nowhere during our walkabouts did Makoni use a loudhailer to address the people, unless it was a rural rally approved by the police.

So, he did this only in Glendale, despite spending six weeks on the road non-stop circling the country? At the very tail-end of his whirlwind road trip across Zimbabwe that took us across swamps and dizzying mountain passes from Sanyati to Nyamapanda?

And they think they have a case?

So, while speaking of healing and unity and all that fuzzy stuff, this government thinks it Ok to prosecute a presidential candidate for campaigning, using a law they profess to deplore and which they tell the country no longer applies?

These charges were curiously activated after Dr Makoni launched Mavambo as a political party and this is significant.

Before this, there was widespread skepticism about the formation of a party by Makoni with some alleging that he would never do it because he had never really left ZANU PF. The vitriol poured on him by those who fear the electability of this man was coming from both the ranks of ZANU PF and especially MDC-T who want to foist mediocre brains with no policy originality on the people of Zimbabwe.

When he did launch, they suddenly found their worst nightmares made flesh.

So they do this.

And with a supposedly "reformist" Minister of Home Affairs from the MDC-T in charge? With the democrat Morgan Tsvangirai looking on helplessly because his "Solution", Robert Mugabe's word is the final word and the Prime Minister can only nod and say "Yes, sir, Your Excellency, sir"?

Trying Makoni on trumped and spurious charges is not going to pump water into people's homes. Nor will it create jobs for our 95% unemployed workforce. It will not put food on the tables of starving, donor-fed, dignity-deprived Zimbabweans.

This trial will not get the donor countries so beloved of Tsvangirai and Mugabe to empty their pockets into Zimbabwe's coffers, nor will it pay doctors who have now gone on strike, nor will it increase civil servants' salaries above the US$115 they currently get.

In fact, this trial is nothing but a vindictive, ill-thought-out, clumsy attempt to stop Makoni in his tracks.

It will fail.


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