In Mutasa District, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) says it has once again proven that police officers & prosecuting authorities are abusing laws to persecute perceived opponents of the ruling ZANU PF political party.

This is after the organization got two villagers Zephenia Nyangani & Learnmore Makuwaza discharged & acquitted after they stood trial for allegedly tearing a political campaign poster belonging to a ZANU PF party member.

Nyangani & Makuwaza had been on trial after they were arrested by
police on 10 December 2022 & charged with destruction of political posters as defined in section 152(1) of the Electoral Act.

During trial, which commenced on 2 May, prosecutors alleged that on 10 December 2022 at Madziro Open Tent in Hauna, the duo, who, reside in Mboto village in Mutasa District & are members of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), defaced posters belonging to Regina Barara, the ZANU PF political party candidate for a council by-election, by untying strings used to secure her posters & tearing the poster.

Nyangani & Makuwaza reportedly did this when they were affixing posters of the CCC political party candidate in Ward 6 after the seat became vacant following the death of the sitting Councillor.

However, Magistrate Sanyatwe recently discharged & acquitted Nyangani and Makuwaza at the close of the state case after their lawyer David Tandiri of ZLHR, applied for their discharge & having argued that prosecutors had failed to prove a prima facie case against the 2 villagers.

Tandiri also argued that state witnesses who testified during trial gave contradictory and inconsistent testimonies.

Magistrate Sanyatwe agreed with Tandiri’s arguments and ruled that one of the state witnesses had exonerated Nyangani & Makuwaza in the commission of the alleged offence.