MPs Chikwinya, Mukapiko further remanded

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GARIKAYI MATAVA/NYASHA MAJONI

KWEKWE- Jailed MDC Alliance Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya and his Redcliff counterpart Lloyd Mukapiko who were arrested last week on allegations of subverting a constitutionally-elected government, had their application for refusal of remand turned down by Kwekwe resident magistrate Story Rushambwa after the state failed to submit the papers to the defense counsel and were further remanded in custody awaiting trial slated for February 8.

After they were arrested by Kwekwe police on January 18 on allegations of having incited the public to embark on violence during the villainous and violent National Shutdown which rocked some parts of the Midlands and the country’s major towns, Chikwinya and Mukapiko were initially remanded to this Thursday before they were further remanded following their appearance at the Kwekwe magistrates court this afternoon. Chikwinya and Mukapiko are accused of having convened and addressed a public meeting at Red Lion Mini Bar in Kwekwe on January 12 where they reportedly incited members of the general public to engage in violence during last week’s three-day protests which rocked the country.

The state further alleges that the Red Lion meeting resulted in various civic groups committing acts of violence in towns and cities which include Gweru, Gokwe, Harare and Bulawayo. The violence, state papers say, resulted in other peoples’ loss of lives whilst others were also seriously injured during the skirmishes which shook the country last week. Chikwinya is also further accused of having made a facebook post on his timeline in which he reportedly thanked those who had heeded to the call for a mass stayaway. The Mbizo MP also allegedly further encouraged people to keep on putting pressure on the Zimbabwean government ‘in whatever forms so that it will bow to the needs’ of the masses.

Chikwinya and Mukapiko are only two of the seven MDC officials who are embroiled in legal battles as the government has made a brutal crackdown on civic and opposition figures believed to have had a hand in last week’s protests, now generally referred to as the ‘National Shutdown’. MDC Alliance Organising Secretary and Mkoba legislator Amos Chibaya was also remanded in custody to next week as he is facing one count of incitement to commit a crime. He was remanded in custody to allow police to locate two missing state witnesses. According to the state outline, the two missing witnesses allegedly fled after they were reportedly intimidated by unknown people before they could testify in court.

The latest developments come in the wake of a perceived onslaught on dissent by the state following the three-day National Shutdown which rocked most parts of the country last week. Organized by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), pressure groups and the opposition, Zimbabwe’s National Shutdown hogged the media limelight during the absence of President Emmerson Mnangagwa who was visiting the Eurasia community for trade and investment meetings. Mnangagwa was forced to cut short his tour and after touching down from his international tour, he condemned the violent protests and called upon opposition political players, religious and civic leaders for dialogue amidst worsening economic conditions which triggered the protests.

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