On Monday, Harare Magistrate Josephine Sande dismissed a case against four activists who had “planned to demonstrate” against Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko’s year long stay at Harare’s Rainbow Towers Hotel. The four Lynette Mudewe, Dirk Frey, Alvin Takavada and Elvis Mugari were picked up outside the hotel on November 30, 2015. They were released without charge after being detained for 40 hours.
However, the activists were issued with summons and charged with criminal nuisance after they filed a lawsuit against the police for illegal detention. Their lawyer, David Hofisi of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights argued that the state could not summon the activists without stating the exact charges.
The Magistrate agreed with Hofisi and dismissed the charges. Said Hofisi afterwards:
They were an attempting to scupper Ms Mudewe’s claim of damages in the High Court and the haste which that required made them overlook their failure to include a charge in the paper.
The summons were bad because the motive was bad.
More: New Zimbabwe