FOUR people from Bulawayo accused of booing First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe at the Zanu-PF Presidential Youth Interface rally held last Saturday at White City Stadium were yesterday each granted $50 bail.
They allegedly sang and made gestures throwing hands in the air after the First Lady said Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo was being persecuted for nothing.
The State, represented by Mr Jerry Mutsindikwa, had opposed bail saying the quartet was likely to abscond. He said they would interfere with the State witnesses as some potential witnesses’ statements have not yet been recorded.
Mr Mutsindikwa said: “The conduct of the accused persons was likely to provoke violence and as such it was the court’s interest that the public’s interest be protected. The State fears for the safety of the quartet as one of them was assaulted and found lying on the ground.”
However, Bulawayo magistrate Mr Franklin Mkhwananzi dismissed the State’s reasons and said the quartet were proper candidates for bail. He remanded the matter to November 23 when they would be provided with a trial date.
“So far nine rallies have been held and the quartet has only been accused of allegedly committing the offence once. This does not establish the likelihood that they might repeat the offence again. The quartet’s constitutional rights of the accused persons should not be trampled on because of one contact who said their lives would be endangered.”
He gave them bail on five conditions.
“Applicants should each pay $50 bail. They should reside at the given addresses until the matter is finalised. They should not interfere with State witnesses.
Applicants should not attend the upcoming rally which will be held in Harare. They should report to their respective police stations once a week on Friday,” he said.
The quartet which is facing a charge of undermining the authority of the President is represented by Mr Tanaka Muganyi of Tanaka Law Chambers.
Mr Mutsindikwa said the rally was attended by President Mugabe as the guest of honour, Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and other top government officials. “The quartet with others allegedly sang the song Into oyenzayo siyayizonda (We hate what you are doing) at White City Stadium when DR Grace Mugabe was addressing the gathering. They made hand gestures and booed at the First lady,” Mr Mutsindikwa said.
He said Zanu-PF youths later intervened and took Charumbira out of the stadium.
The quartet was spotted by police officers on duty.