Harare mayor Jacob Mafume is spending the weekend in remand prison after a Harare magistrate yesterday failed to turn up in court to deliver her ruling on the MDC Alliance politician’s bail application.
By Primrose Haisa
Mafume was arrested last Wednesday on charges of criminal abuse of office and magistrate Bianca Makwande, who heard his bail application on Friday, had promised to deliver her judgement yesterday.
Mafume’s lawyer Tonderai Bhatasara said they waited for three hours before they were told that the magistrate was not available to deliver her ruling.
“We waited for three hours at the court and the magistrate did not turn up,” Bhatasara said.
“Her absence today affected his right to liberty.
“It goes against the provisions of the constitution and court process that all bail matters should be treated as urgent.
“We don’t have a choice; we will wait up to Monday (tomorrow).”
The mayor is accused of illegally parcelling out residential stands in Harare’s Westlea suburb to his sister and a secretary at his law firm.
Mafume, who is councillor for ward 17, was elected mayor in September following the recall of the then mayor, Herbert Gomba, by a rival faction, MDC-T led by Thokozani Khupe.
The MDC Alliance says the mayor’s arrest is a continuation of an agenda to persecute the main opposition party’s leadership.