The trial of two touts accused of indecently assaulting a woman at Simon Vengai Muzenda Street (formerly Fourth Street) bus terminus took a new twist yesterday after another tout called to testify blamed his colleague for fuelling the harassment.
State witness Mike Hungwe, nailed one of the accused, Blessing Chinodakufa (31), telling the court that had it not been for him, the woman would not have been indecently assaulted.
Hungwe exonerated Marvellous Kandemiri (32) whom he said he had never seen before. He told the court that people were only chiding the woman, calling her a prostitute before Chinodakufa lifted her dress, exposing her undergarment.
“The woman was so stranded that she tried to enter several commuter omnibuses but (another tout who is on the run and only identified as Washington) closed the doors. Then Chinodakufa came and lifted her dress, exposing her thighs and panty. Since there was commotion, the woman was so confused that instead of pulling her dress down, she mistakenly pulled her panty down.
Hungwe said he would laugh at Chinodakufa if he tells the court that he was doing something else at that time.
“He will be wasting the court’s time and I urge him not to do so. If it was not for him, she was not going to be indecently humiliated, people would tease her and let her go,” he said.
The trial continues next Tuesday when the State will call three more witnesses. The two, who are facing charges of indecent assault, denied the charges.
Kandemiri is being represented by Mr Nathaniel Chigoro.
The prosecutor Ms Kudzai Chigwedere, alleged that the two and their accomplices, still at large, stripped the woman when she arrived at Simon Vengai Muzenda Street rank on December 17 last year.
She was on her way to Ruwa and although she made efforts to cover herself up, the accused persons prevented her from doing so as they continued pulling her dress up to her waist and lowering her panty with the intention of removing it.
The court also heard that although the woman managed to temporarily escape after getting into a parked commuter omnibus, the accused persons pulled her out before closing the door.
They pulled her out of another vehicle and she fell to the ground during the tussle.
The woman managed to flee into another commuter omnibus where the driver and the conductor asked her to pay $2 so that they could take her away from the scene.
After she had paid the money, they drove her away to safety.
Chinodakufa and Kandemiri were arrested after a leaked video footage capturing the drama went viral on social media networks.
Harare magistrate Ms Rekina Dzikiti presided over the matter.