MDC Alliance’s Harare West legislator, Joana Mamombe and her colleague, Cecillia Chimbiri were this Tuesday denied bail for the third time.
Mamombe and Chimbiri appeared before Harare Magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti-Guwuriro who was ruling on their fresh bail application.
The duo has been in prison since March on charges of failing to confine themselves at home during the COVID-19 lockdown after they addressed a press conference to denounce the arrest of fellow MDC Alliance members.Mamombe and Chimbiri, represented by Jeremiah Bamu and Charles Kwaramba of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), were first denied bail by Magistrate Muchuchuti-Guwuriro last month and recently filed a fresh bail application citing changes circumstances.
After the ZLHR made a second bid to get the two out of Chikurubi Maximum Prison, Magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti-Guwuriro dismissed the bail application.
Magistrate Guwuriro ruled that Mamombe and Chimbiri should remain in prison and wait for the commencement of their trial on 5 May as there were no changed circumstances to warrant their release from jail on bail.Previously, the duo was denied bail on grounds that they were “likely to break the laws again as they had done in the past.”
MDC Alliance responded saying bail is a constitutional right and also condemned the duo’s month-long incarceration. Said the party in a statement:
The MDCA duo have been denied bail a 3rd time. The court ruled that there were no changed circumstances. This pre-trial incarceration is designed to persecute these brave women for standing up to the regime. #FreeOurHeroes
Some commentators criticised the courts for denying bail to Mamombe and Chimbiri and accused the judiciary of being captured by the ruling party.
MDC A Vice Chairman Job Sikhala called for strong leadership in the struggle.
“The denial of bail to @JoanaMamombe & @ceechimbiri2 shld send a clear message to everyone that, the struggle we are fighting needs strong spine. Many people are going to be casualties of a vicious state. This has a reverse effect. It emboids strong character to continue fighting,” remarked Sikhala on social media.