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The Zimbabwean government is determined to imprison Joana Mamombe and Cecilia Chimbiri, despite their recent acquittal by the High Court. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has announced that it will appeal the verdict and file a case with the Supreme Court. This move by the government has raised concerns about the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law in Zimbabwe.
Joana Mamombe and Cecilia Chimbiri, along with Netsai Marova, were accused of faking their abduction in 2020 and publishing falsehoods about the incident. They claimed to have been seized by suspected state agents, taken to a secluded location outside of Harare, and subjected to torture and sexual assault. After their disappearance and subsequent discovery in Bindura, they were arrested and charged with communicating falsehoods. However, after a lengthy trial, the High Court found Mamombe and Chimbiri not guilty and acquitted them of all charges.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) of Zimbabwe has issued a press statement announcing their intention to appeal the acquittal of Mamombe and Chimbiri. The NPA argues that the High Court judgment is defective and that the judge grossly misdirected herself. They believe that another court presented with the same facts might come to a different conclusion. The NPA also claims that the judgment was handed down without the concurrence of another judge, as required by precedent.
The government’s decision to appeal the acquittal of Mamombe and Chimbiri has raised concerns. Critics argue that the government is disregarding the decision of the High Court and undermining the rule of law. They fear that this could set a dangerous precedent and have a chilling effect on freedom of expression and human rights in the country.
The National Prosecuting Authority Full Statement On The Supreme Court Appeal
The State will be appealing the decision of the High Court in the case of Joana Mamombe and Cecelia Revei Chimbiri versus the Chief Magistrate F Mushure NO and the State.
The State is of the considered view that the judgment is defective for want of compliance with the High Court Act [Chap 7:06] as well as a precedent, which provides that another Judge must concur with the presiding Judge before the judgment is handed down.
The State is also contending that the Judge grossly misdirected herself by interfering with the unterminated proceedings from the lower court, as the termination of proceedings, in this case, was unjustified.
Furthermore, the State is certain that another court presented with the same facts might come to a different conclusion.