PRO-DEMOCRACY campaigner Tendai Lynette Mudehwe has equated her prosecution by Zimbabwean authorities to persecution after her trial on criminal nuisance charges failed to commence for the umpteenth time in eight years.
Mudehwe, the Founder and Co-ordinator of Zimbabwe Activists Alliance, has been appearing in court for the past eight years since she was arrested by Zimbabwe Republic Police officers on 30 November 2015 and charged with criminal nuisance as defined in section 46 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly participating
in an anti-government demonstration.
She was accused of demonstrating against former Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko’s stay in a luxurious hotel at taxpayers’ expense after she entered Rainbow Towers on 30 November 2015, during proceedings of the International Conference on AIDS and STI’s in
Africa (ICASA), with intent to cause annoyance or disturbance of public peace or realising that there was real risk or possibility that her conduct would cause annoyance or disturb peace to the public.
While at the venue of the ICASA conference, prosecutors alleged that Mudehwe started shouting and singing and thereby disrupting the smooth flow of the conference.
Eight years on, Mudehwe, who is represented by Paidamoyo Saurombe of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, is still appearing at Harare Magistrates Court, and on Thursday 9 February 2023, she was advised that her docket was incomplete and hence she would not appear in court.
Saurombe protested that the actions of prosecutors in continuously summoning Mudehwe to travel from Mutare to appear at Harare Magistrates Court, amounted to persecution and he will file an application for permanent stay of prosecution when she returns to court.
Saurombe said if trial does not commence when Mudehwe gets summoned to appear in court, he will institute proceedings for a permanent stay of prosecution as the prosecutor’s conduct would constitute persecution.