The four: Emmanuel Sitima, Comfort Mpofu, Tawanda Watadza and Lionel Madamombe were arrested on charges of malicious damage to property.

It is alleged that the students defaced government buildings in the CBD and spray painted the words “Free Wiwa”, “Free Job Sikhala”.

HARARE – Four University of Zimbabwe (UZ) students who were arrested last week charged with malicious damage to property shall stay longer behind bars after the investigating officer (IO) who is key to their bail bid failed to show up in court Wednesday.

They are Emmanuel Sitima, 24, Comfort Mpofu, 22, Tawanda Watadza, 24 and Lionel Wadamombe.

Harare magistrate Learnmore Mapiye was forced to postpone hearing to Friday after prosecutors said the investigating officer was also testifying in another court during the same time he was required in the student’s court case.

Their lawyer, Darlington Marange challenged the application noting that it was causing an unreasonable delay.

But the magistrate ruled that the state had managed to convince her to postpone the matter.

“It is the State’s first application for postponement,” Mapiye said.

“Another docket has indeed been opened in another court with similar circumstances. The State had no reason to lie to the court.

“The application for postponement on the basis of unavailability of the witness is not unreasonable. Matter is postponed to April 26.”

The students are facing seven counts of malicious damage to property, and are alternatively being charged with counts of criminal nuisance.

Allegations are that on May 14, 2023, the four, together with others who are still at large, went around protesting for the release of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) lawmaker Job Sikhala from pre-trial custody.

It is alleged that the students defaced government buildings in the CBD and spray painted the words “Free Wiwa”, “Free Job Sikhala”.

Prosecutors allege they drew graffiti on the High Court of Zimbabwe building walls, Parliament building, the Methodist Trinity Church building and the Constitutional Court building.

They allegedly did the same at the Harare Civil Court, Runhare House building and at Karigamombe building.

All the mentioned structures are located within the Harare CBD.

Meanwhile, another student who is believed to be part of the group, made his first appearance Wednesday.

Darlington Upenyu Chigwena, 21, appeared before Harare magistrate Dennis Mangosi and was also remanded in custody to this Friday for his bail application. — ZimLive

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *