14 June 2018
A BID to taste freedom by six men charged with kidnapping and assaulting a freelance journalist – Clayton Masekesa – hit a brick wall yesterday.
The two police officers, two soldiers and two Mutare municipal cops were remanded in custody and advised to apply for bail at the High Court.
The presiding magistrate, Perseverance Makala, ruled that the matter was a third schedule offence and therefore her court lacked jurisdiction to deal with the case.
She advised the suspects to approach the upper court and apply for bail.
This was after the defence lawyers had pressed the lower court to hear their bail application, insisting that the magistrate court had the authority to do so.
However, Makala was not convinced by their submissions.
“This case still remains a third schedule offence and warrants a decision from the High Court on whether the six accused persons should be remanded out of custody. Despite the fact that the lawyers are claiming that there was no grievous bodily harm on the complainant, it is still clear that there was more harm inflicted on him. That harm however, can or cannot be seen by the naked eye alone,” she said.
Masekesa was allegedly assaulted by the law enforcement agents over allegations of cheating with their colleague’s girlfriend.
Saul Tomu (53), Penelock Majonhi (41), Everson Mark Marozva (33), Hope Mwaipa (33) Joachim Runyanga (35) and John Takaendesa (42) were not asked to plead during initial appearance before Ms Makala.
They will be back in court on June 26 for routine remand.
Mwaipa and Runyanga are soldiers while Majoni and Marozva are traffic police officers. Tomu and Takaendesa are Mutare municipal cops.
The six are facing assault and kidnapping or unlawful detention charges as defined in Section 93 (1) (b) (ii) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.
They are being represented by Messrs Passmore Nyakureba and Innocent Mandikate.
Public prosecutor, Fletcher Karombe, told the court that the complainant went to Tomu’s residence at 27 Robert Mugabe Road, Hospital Hill, Mutare to meet Tomu’s girlfriend – Melanda Konde – who had asked him to visit her.
“While at the house, Mwaipa and Runyanga asked Masekesa what he was doing at Tomu’s house in the latter’s absence. They then handcuffed Masekesa while Takaendesa video recorded the proceedings using his cell phone and used a baton and hands to assault Masekesa all over the body. The three then ordered Masekesa to roll over wet mud.
“Tomu, Majonhi and Marozva came with a police Mitsubishi motor vehicle REG ZRP 093E and joined in assaulting Masekesa using open hands accusing him of being in a love affair with Konde,” said Karombe.
They then forced him to board the police vehicle which was being driven by Majonhi to Mutare Civic Centre. Upon arrival they further assaulted him and released him.
Masekesa went to Mutare Central Police Station where he made a police report of assault and kidnapping resulting in the arrest of the suspects and subsequent appearance in court.
(By Tendai Gukutikwa Mutare Correspondent)