Mamombe, Chimbiri hotheads – High Court Judge

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MDC Alliance's Joana Mamombe to know her fate on Friday after yet another High Court appeal
MDC Alliance's Joana Mamombe to know her fate on Friday after yet another High Court appeal

George Swarei

High Court Judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi has dismissed Joana Mamombe and Cecilia Chimbiri bail appeal saying the MDC-Alliance activists were troublesome.

Mamombe and Chimbiri, who are facing charges of breaching the Level Four national lockdown after convening a public gathering at the Harare Magistrates Court, were denied bail at their remand hearing for committing an offence while similar cases were pending at the courts.

The duo then appealed to the High Court against the lower court ruling.

Mamombe and Chimbiri were granted bail on three different occasions they allegedly broke the law with the magistrate ruling that that continued breaches of the law while on bail demonstrated contempt for the system.

In dismissing the appeal on Thursday, Justice Chitapi said the two MDC-A activists had proved to be “hot-headed”.

“They did not deny addressing a gathering. I would want to say the accused showed an attitude of defiance and did not give any assurance or suggestion of repentance,” Justice Chitapi said.

He said Mamombe had shown that she was a frequent offender.

“I can’t say she is guilty but remains a fact that she has not stopped engaging in activities that make her end up being charged for breaking the law.”

Justice Chitapi said stringent conditions were not working because the two activists have several pending matters at the courts but continued to break the law.

The Judge further said the bail system must be seen to be effective and that if the system is undermined and a person granted bail in another matter appears in court for other matters makes the system ineffective.

He said the history of the two activists pointed to a lifestyle of offending.

The High Court judge also concurred with the magistrate that there are compelling reasons to deny the appellants bail.

Justice Tawanda Chitapi was expected to deliver the bail appeal on Thursday last week pushed the matter on Tuesday this week saying the judgement was not ready.

Meanwhile, addressing journalists after the bail hearing MDC-A vice president Tendai Biti said MDC-A would push for other legal options for Mamombe and Chimbiri.

“We are completely disappointed. We were expecting bail to be granted as bail is a constitutional right. The constitution is very clear that the court will grant bail but the court has refused to do so. Their lawyers would consider other legal options.”

Mamombe and Chimbiri approached the High Court following Magistrate Muchuchuti’s ruling denying them bail on the grounds that they have a tendency to re-offend, considering they were arrested while on bail for similar criminal infringements.

In the latest charge, Mamombe and Chimbiri were arrested for contravening national Covid-19 regulations after allegedly staging a demonstration at the Harare Magistrates Court denouncing the arrest of fellow activist, Makomborero Haruzivishe.

The duo is, however, denying the allegations arguing they only addressed journalists, who are considered essential service workers in terms of the lockdown regulations.

 

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