The year-long remand of 28 MDC Youth Assembly members and their President Solomon (Mandela) Madzore, who has been nicknamed “Mandela” on trumped up charges of murdering a police officer in Glen View last year seems set to continue indefinitely.
The emotive trial which was postponed indefinitely to allow one of the accused persons, Nyamadzawo Gapara, to recuperate after his admission at the ill equipped Harare Central Remand Hospital is yet to resume as Gapara is still receiving medical treatment from a private hospital in Harare following a court order.
A recent medical report however pours water on prospects of trial resuming soon. According to the specialist surgeons attending to Gapara, the serious nature of his illness, and the subsequent complications incurred while at Harare Central Remand Hospital make it difficult to determine when he will be fit to stand trial.
This indefinite period required for his recovery, added to the fact that the High Court has gone on recess until September 2012, makes it
certain that the trial will not resume any time soon, but only after the beginning of September 2012. Even if the High Court re-opens in
September 2012, the date on which the trial will resume remains tied to the speed of Nyamadzawo Gapara's recovery, which has also put into abeyance the trial of other 28 accused persons.
The accused persons have been in remand prison the greater part of the winter.
The Supreme Court is yet to set down the bail appeal. This is in spite of the fact that all bail issues are considered to be urgent, and the defence team has complied with every procedural requirement for the appeal for the Supreme Court to allocate a date for the hearing. In a growing legal entanglement, it is not clear if the appeal will be set down for hearing before September as the Supreme Court is also on recess until in September.
Ordinarily the highest court should hear appeals even if it is on recess. However, given that the earlier bail appeals took long to be set down (these include Tungamirai Madzokere and 6 Others & Solomon ‘Mandela’ Madzore and 28 Others), there is no likelihood that the Supreme Court will set down bail appeal hearings for both matters any time soon.
It was apparent from the attitude of the Supreme Court in the initial bail appeal relating to the MDC Youth President Solomon ‘Mandela’
Madzore and Glen View 28, that the highest court would most likely shy away from dealing with the matter on the merits, or dilly dally in the hope that the trial in the High Court was concluded earlier, or at least bail was granted by the High Court.
In view of the above, the best chances for all 29 Accused remains with the trial being concluded expeditiously. However, this is unlikely to
be the case unless Nyamadzawo Gapara recovers quickly.
As MDC Youth Assembly we remain hopeful that the 29 will all be released in good health. We reiterate that their arrest and continued
detention is illegal and political. There is a clear merciless hand of ZANU PF trying to destabilise, and destroy the Youth Assembly by
arresting its leaders and members.
For and on behalf of the young people of Zimbabwe, Clifford Hlatywayo - MDC Youth Assembly Secretary for Information and Publicity