MDC Alliance councillor for Marondera Central, Charles Ngwena (36) and party activist Paul Chikuni (34) who allegedly freed a vendor who was arrested for selling bananas before instructing the police officers to arrest President Emmerson Mnanagwa instead for organising an anti-sanctions march, were yesterday arraigned before magistrate Patience Chirimo.

Before the court proceedings, the pair represented by human rights lawyer Tinashe Chinopfukutwa was initially charged for undermining the authority of the President, but the offence was altered to obstructing the course of justice.

They were, however, granted $100 bail and remanded to November 11 for trial.

Ngwena is a councillor for ward 4 in Marondera Central while Chikuni is a municipal police officer.

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On October 23, at around midday, police officers identified as Constables Nyambisi, Mutiforo and Moyo all from ZRP Marondera Central were on patrol at Marondera Bus Terminus when they arrested Patrick Chabvata (31) who was selling bananas in a push cart.

It is alleged that while escorting Chabvata to the police station, the police officers passed by Ngwena and Chikuni who were in their Toyota Prado parked in central Marondera.

It is alleged that Ngwena shouted at the police officers in vernacular saying: “Mapurisa munopenga munosunga vanhu vanotambura endai munosunga Emmerson ari kuita ma anti-sanctions march (You police officers are insane. You are busy arresting poor people instead of arresting Emmerson who is organising anti-sanctions marches).

Chikuni allegedly disembarked from the vehicle and grabbed Chabvata’s push cart and pushed it away. The altercation attracted attention of passers-by who converged at the scene resulting in the police officers leaving, fearing for their safety.
Zihn Gozo represented the State.