Simba Makoni Trial Update - Farcical and A Joke!
Dr Simba Makoni's trial started in Bindura today with what is known as a preliminary hearing, during which it emerged that the State had no clue what it was doing, quoting sections of POSA (2004 version) that no longer exist, then agreeing with Dr Makoni that he could not be charged under those sections and asking to be allowed to amend the charges so that they could charge him under sections that DO exist. They made a dog's breakfast of that as well!!
Harare, Zimbabwe, 15 September 2009
Dr Simba Makoni, the Interim President of Mavambo.Kusile.Dawn Party today appeared before a Magistrate in Bindura to answer charges of addressing more than 400 people in March last year without police permission, as is required under the Public Order and Security Act (POSA).
It was a circus, pretty much.
First of all, the State prosecutors were charging Dr Makoni under the POSA Act of 2004 and specifically quoting section 24, subsection 21.......anyway, without getting too technical, the bottom line is that they were charging Dr Makoni under sections of POSA that no longer exist because the ACT was amended after that.
When it became clear that they were charging him under sections that no longer existed, the prosecution then asked to be allowed to amend the charge sheet to reflect the amendment to POSA.
Dr Makoni and his lawyers agreed to this.
Makoni's Defence then immediately also raised another objection or exception, which was that the sections under which the State now sought to charge him specifically referred to "organisations" and not individuals.
Dr Makoni was an independent candidate and therefore, was not an organisation, but an individual.
The State agreed with Dr Makoni that the sections under which they now sought o charge him were wrong and that they could not charge him as such because he was not an organisation.
The Magistrate then immediately adjourned the proceedings in order to examine this new objection.
When the hearing resumed, the court then announced that the objection to being charged as per the amended charge sheet should be dealt with during trial, when evidence could be led and arguments made on that specific score.
However, Makoni immediately raised another "exception", which was that, under the constitution, his rights to freedom of speech, assembly and movement were being violated by this prosecution. Basically, then a challenge to POSA under the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
It was at this time that the court said it did not have enough time to hear this new objection and adjourned the proceedings to October 8.
When we go back on October 8, this new objection will be examined and, if the court agrees, the matter will be referred to the Supreme Court in Harare.
The mess surrounding this case shows just how ill-prepared the State is. They do not even know their own laws and are seeking to persecute people under sections that do not exist.
Of course, it is all political, because that is what this law is all about.
We will see when we get to October 8 just how far they are willing to go with this circus, tying up Dr Makoni in court when he should out campaigning.
The courtroom in Bindura, small though it is, was full to capacity with Dr Makoni's supporters in Bindura and the province. These are members of the Mavambo party.
After the proceedings, Dr Makoni met with them and discussed the work currently going on in the province to set up grassroots structures and we were all pleased o hear that this work basically complete now.