THE state has set August 27 as the trial date for Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions president Lovemore Matombo and secretary-general Wellington Chibebe who are facing charges of spreading falsehoods prejudicial to the state.
Matombo and Chibebe appeared in court on Wednesday before Harare Magistrate William Bhila who remanded them out of custody to the trial date.
The militant ZCTU leaders’ charges of inciting public violence and making statements considered prejudicial to the state arose from the addresses they made at Dzivaresekwa Stadium on Workers Day.
The pair were arrested on May 8 and spent eleven days in custody before they were granted $20 billion bail each by the High Court.
Matombo and Chibebe are also being charged with “inciting the public to rise against the government”.
It is the state’s case that Matombo told the workers that the ZCTU had received information that Zanu PF supporters had killed two teachers at Kondo School in Guruve, Mashonaland Central. It is also alleged he then urged the workers to avenge them.
According to the state, the utterances were false and calculated to incite the workers to revolt against President Robert Mugabe’s government.
The trial was postponed last month because there was no trial magistrate and state prosecutor. Tawanda Zvekare was said to be away on business. No reason was given why the trial magistrate was not present.
As part of the conditions for granting bail, the two accused were barred from addressing any political gathering until their cases were finalised. They were also ordered to reside at their given home addresses and not to interfere with state witnesses.
By Lucia Makamure