by MARCUS MUSHONGA
HARARE, (CAJ News) – TWO opposition activists sentenced to 20 years for the killing of a police officer at the height of political tensions in in 2011 are appealing their conviction.
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activists Last Tamai Maengahama and Tungamirai Madzokere, want the Supreme Court to pronounce them as not guilty.
They are advocating for the sentences against them set aside on the basis of unfair trial and lack of evidence linking them to the killing of the police officer in the capital Harare.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, which is representing them, contended that Justice Chinembiri Bhunu erred and misdirected himself in finding Maengahama, Madzokere and Yvonne Musarurwa guilty on the basis of the doctrine of common purpose when in law the doctrine is no longer part of Zimbabwean law.
The activists have insisted on their innocence since sentencing in 2016.
The two, together with Musarurwa were convicted for murdering Petros Mutedza, a Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) inspector.
However, Musarurwa was released from prison in 2018 under a presidential pardon.
Phenias Nhatarikwa, who was convicted as an accessory after the fact to public violence was fined US$500 (over R7 600) or three months imprisonment.
Opposition activists and Zimbabwean police have a history of tensions.
Critics accuse the police of being partisan and violently quashing demonstrations by opponents of government.
The mysterious killing of the police officer in 2011 occurred when Zimbabwe was still under the presidency of Robert Mugabe (now late).
He ran the Southern African country with an iron fist until he was overthrown in a coup in 2017.
– CAJ News