22 March 2019

Zimbabwe: Court Throws Out Mawarire Application

A Harare magistrate has dismissed applications for refusal of further remand by #ThisFlag leader Evan Mawarire, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president Peter Gift Mutasa and secretary-general Japhet Moyo.

Mawarire and his co-accused Mutasa are facing charges of subverting a constitutionally-elected Government or alternatively inciting public violence.

Mawarire is being represented by Mr Aleck Muchadehama, while Mr Tonderai Bhatasara represents Mutasa.

In their application, the pair submitted that the six weeks the State was given for investigations had lapsed and there was no need to keep them on remand with stringent reporting conditions without trial.

"A remand court has a duty to deliver justice and to ensure that the accused persons are tried within a reasonable time," said Mr Bhatasara.

"The State's case against the accused is very weak or rather it does not exist, the matter is two months old. The State can always proceed by way of summons when it is ready." The State alleges that on January 14, Mawarire -- in connivance Mutasa -- recorded a video for the Zimbabwean populace which went viral on social media platforms, including YouTube, Twitter, WhatsApp and Facebook, which have worldwide coverage. It is the State's case that the contents of the video were meant to subvert a constitutional government in that Mawarire was coercing Zimbabwean workers not to report for duty and encouraging civil disobedience or resistance of all law.

Moyo, who is alleged to have participated in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, also made the same application through his lawyer Mr Aleck Muchadehama. Magistrate Ms Rumbidzai Mugwagwa dismissed both applications, saying there was no inordinate delay.

"The State had outlined that they would make investigations for six weeks which are up, the State should learn to abide by the timeline they would have set themselves," she said. "But looking at the time the accused persons have been on remand, the State has made progress, thereby application for refusal for further remand is dismissed."

Ms Mugwagwa remanded the matters to April 26.

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