WOZA leaders Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu were remanded in custody until Tuesday 21st October this morning in Bulawayo Magistrateâ€™s Court. The pair had been arrested yesterday morning after a peaceful demonstration. They have been charged under Section 37 1(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act â€“ â€˜disturbing the peace, security or order of the publicâ€™.
Williams and Mahlangu appeared in court this morning at 11.15am. On arrival at court, the state prosecutor had agreed with the defence lawyer, Kossam Ncube, that the state would not oppose bail and the amount and conditions were settled. On entering the court room however, Ncube was informed that a new prosecutor, Chifamba, was taking over the case.
Chifamba argued that the two should be denied bail because there was still an outstanding case pending, referring to the May 28 arrest. As the group of 14 had been removed off remand in Harare Magistrateâ€™s Court on Wednesday 15th, this matter is no longer pending. The Magistrate, Maphosa, allowed the state time to verify this fact however, remanding the two in custody until Tuesday 21st October.
It is clear from these actions that the state is determined to deny the two bail, a clear violation of the spirit of the power-sharing agreement signed by the political parties on 15th September.
After spending one night at Bulawayo Remand Prison, Williams and Mahlangu will be moved to Mlondolozi Female Prison tomorrow.
Although disappointed by the ruling, the two are determined to remain positive, even though Mahlangu is in pain from the beating she received outside Mhlalandlela. Apparently it was Chief Inspector Mabhari himself who beat her.
The Investigating Officer of the case is Detective Sergeant Kennedy Nyahuye from the Law and Order Section of Bulawayo Central Police Station.
Useful telephone numbers:
Bulawayo Central Police Station: +263 9 72515/61706/63061/68078
Mlondolozi Prison: +263 9 64228
Bulawayo Attorney Generalâ€™s Office: +263 9 77651/61603
Bulawayo Public Prosecutor: + 263 9 63173