By Desmond Chingarande
The High Court has stalled MDC Alliance activists trial which Harare Magistrate Bianca Makwande insisted should proceed despite a pending application for her recusal.
Legislator Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova where stand accused of falsehoods after they reported their alleged abduction by State security agents to the police.
High Court judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi said the urgent chamber application filed by the trio to stop the trial has been moved to May 13. Thus the trial has to be stopped to allow a Higher Court’s decision on the matter.
“The hearing of the urgent application is postponed to 13 May, 2021 at 2:30pm. The trial of the three applicants in case number CRB ACC 45-47/20 is hereby temporarily stayed pending the determination of this urgent application,” Justice Chitapi ruled.
“To enable determination of the matter and to meet the request of the parties, for the transcript of proceedings in the said case to be availed at the applicants costs,” he added.
The three through their lawyer Alec Muchadehama are seeking recusal of the presiding magistrate Bianca Makwande and prosecutor Michael Reza who they accuse of being personal.
They submitted that they will never have a fair trial as long as Makwande and Reza are handling their case.
Muchadehama said their fears are intense to the extent that sight of the two sends shivers through their bodies, the High Court has been told.
“We protested that we could not properly plead to the charges given our so many misgivings in the matter but Makwande forced us to plead to the changes that had been put to us,” Mamombe said in her founding affidavit.
“When we pleaded the time was now around 18:37 pm. To say that I was shocked at what I witnessed on April 28 is an understatement. I became so afraid of Makwande and Reza that I concluded that the chances are ice in hell that I would get justice before these two,” she said.
“My co-applicants were equally apprehensive. I could see Chimbiri sweating during the proceedings whilst Marova was shivering in the corner in fear of what was panning before us.
” We all came to conclusion that our matters had been pre-determined by Makwande and that we were not going to get a fair hearing before her.”