18 March 2017

Zimbabwe: Mawarire's Bid for Freedom Flops

AN attempt by political activist Evan Mawarire to be cleared on charges of trying to remove President Robert Mugabe from power by force hit a brick wall after the courts court ruled that it was too early for him to complain.

Mawarire had applied to be removed from remand through his lawyers Harrison Nkomo and Jeremiah Bamu, arguing that State was taking too long to give him a trial date.

The cleric had also asked the court to scrap his bail conditions so that he can visit his family who remain abroad.

However, magistrate Babra Chimboza ruled in favour of State prosecutor Sebastin Mutizirwa who argued that Mawarire's bail issues could only be addressed by the High Court.

"The accused has been on remand for only two months, a period unreasonable for him to complain. As such this court finds that the accused should remain on remand," said the magistrate.

Mawarire was arrested at Harare International Airport upon his return from the United Sates where he had spent six months in self-imposed exile.

He was charged with subverting a constitutionally elected government.

The cleric, who leads the #ThisFlag campaign group, faced the same allegations when he was arrested last year.

At the time, he walked free after magistrate Vakai Chikwekwe ruled that he had been unlawfully arrested and detained.

In the latest case, prosecutors allege that Mawarire incited the public to violently revolt against the government, leading to protests which left a trail of destruction in the capital.

He is also accused of inciting Zimbabweans based in America and all over the world to converge in New York and confront the President Mugabe who was attending the United Nations General Assembly.

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