Politics

Cheza acquitted on fabricated charges

MARTIN MAWAYA

A Gweru Magistrate has acquitted senior opposition politician and the August 2023 Chirumhanzu South CCC parliamentary candidate, Patrick Cheza, of assault, robbery and malicious damage to property charges.

Cheza (51), Tinashe Moyo (47), Tanyaradzwa Marimbe (23), Christopher Mutoboni (33) and Alex Gamuchirai (37) were not found guilty at the close of the state’s case.

In his ruling, Gweru Provincial Magistrate Tavengwa Sangster said there was no incriminating evidence to prove that Cheza and his co-accused had committed the offences.

Magistrate Sangster added that the state had “conceded that there was no prima facie case against the accused persons”.

The magistrate also discharged the accused persons, citing inconsistencies and unreliable evidence presented by the state witnesses.

He said the law allowed for the discharge of the accused persons if there was not enough compelling evidence.

In an interview after the ruling, Cheza who was represented by prominent lawyers Esau Mandipa and Leopold Mudisi, said justice had prevailed.

“I am happy that I have been acquitted, and I have been consistently saying that I did not commit any of those offences,” said Cheza.

Allegations are that the former Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) members assaulted Justice Dzaguma at Rupepwe Primary School in Chirumanzu in May last year.

They are also alleged to have assaulted War veteran and ZANUPF member Mzembi Ngamo before robbing him of US$50, a POSB bank card and his Zanu PF party card.

Further allegations are that on the same date, at Mazvimba Primary School in Chirumanzu, the activists took a cellphone from Philemon Madzivanyika before damaging the pouch valued at US$3.

Meanwhile, Gweru Provincial Magistrate Beaulity Dube granted the state’s application, led by Taurai Mavuto and Monica Mungwena, to have Dr. Kelvin Nemayire testify in another case where Cheza is alleged to have incited opposition activists to assault Tourism Minister and Chirumhanzu legislator, Barbra Rwodzi.

Mavuto argued that Dr Nemayire’s testimony will not lead to new evidence but to tell the courts his findings.

However, the defense counsel gave a notice to appeal to the higher court against the ruling, citing gross injustice.

 They raised concerns about Dr Nemayire’s medical credentials and the admissibility of the medical evidence, adding that his presence to the courts was an ambush.

Furthermore, Mudisi asserted that Dr  Nemayire did not deposit a supporting document or a swearing affidavit to the courts to show that he has carried out the medical examination.

Lawyer Mandipa also reminded the courts that there is a standing ruling that expunged the medical findings after the state conceded that evidence from private hospital is inadmissible in court.

The case was rolled over to the 25th of June together with the tearing of a one dollar counter book case where the defense counsel will file for discharge of Cheza on June 18, while the state files its heads of arguments on the June, 21.

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