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UNITED Family International Church (UFIC), fronted by televangelist Emmanuel Makandiwa, is set to testify in the marathon trial of seven MDC-T activists charged with the murder of a policeman in May 2011.

High Court Judge Chinembiri Bhunu consented to a plea by state prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba that Makandiwa's church is summoned to authenticate a video produced as evidence by one of the activists.

Defence lawyers said the video proves that Last Maengahama, one of the suspects, was attending a (UFIC) church service on the day in question.

Telecomms operator Econet Wireless was also summoned to testify after Maengahama produced a call print-out of May 19 2011, the day police inspector Petros Mutedza was allegedly stoned to death by rowdy MDC-T activists in Harare's Glen-View, suburb.

Defence attorney Beatrice Mtetwa, assisted by a team of Zimbabwe Human Rights legal lawyers, played a video produced by UFIC presumably to prove that Maengahama was at a church service when Mutedza was killed.

In the three minute video, Maengahama is seen queuing to offer what seem to be tithes at the City Sports Centre in Harare.
According to the defence team, the video was made by an official at UFIC but this was disputed by prosecutor Nyazamba who now wants to question the church on the motive for producing the film.

"Matters at hand are whether the video was produced at the instance of the accused himself or that UFI was behind this. We want to find out whether the shooting of the video was predicated for the part where it is played, it is only a mutilated part. It is also questionable that the introduction to this video provides the accused's full names and again as state, we would want to know who directed it," Nyazamba argued.

Mtetwa however, said the State should have challenged the credibility of the video before it was brought to court.

"Section 279 of the Criminal, Procedure and Evidence Act clearly states that any piece of evidence can be produced in court by any person who is competent. The accused (Maengahama) is competent and section 70 of the constitution says the accused has the right to provide evidence while in trial. The state could have long back investigated the video's authenticity," said Mtetwa.

Justice Bhunu ruled that both Prophet Makandiwa's UFIC and Econet be summoned to authenticate the two pieces of evidence.

Twenty eight MDC-T were initially arrested over the police officer's murder, but 21 were later acquitted including youth president Solomon Madzore and the late Rebecca Mafikeni.



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