Zimbabwe: Former Zanu-PF Youth Leader Back in Court for Bail Appeal

26 January 2021

Former ZANU PF party youth leader Jim Kunaka, who has been in remand prison since last year when he was arrested, charged and detained for allegedly inciting people to participate in an anti-government protest will appear at Harare High Court on Tuesday 26 January 2021 for the determination of his bail appeal.

The 42 year-old Kunaka was arrested by Zimbabwe Republic Police members on 24 December 2020 who charged him with incitement to participate in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breach of peace or bigotry as defined in section 187(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform Act) as read with section 37(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform Act).

Kunaka, who is represented by Munyaradzai Bwanya of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), was also charged with contravening section 4 of Statutory Instrument 110 of 2020 Public Health (COVID-19) Prevention, Containment and Treatment (National Lockdown) Order, 2020 after he allegedly incited more than 50 people to gather without permission during the national lockdown period declared by government in a bid stop people from gathering in large numbers in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus.

In court, prosecutors alleged that Kunaka posted some video messages on social media platforms between 1 March 2020 and 30 July 2020 inciting people across the country to participate in illegal demonstrations which were held on 31 July 2020.

Kunaka, prosecutors charged, incited people to gather at Africa Unity Square during the time which government had declared a national lockdown period prohibiting people from gathering.

Hearing of Kunaka's bail appeal at Harare High Court was delayed as his lawyer faced challenges in securing the record of proceedings from Harare Magistrates Court, where he was denied bail in December 2020 by Magistrate Judith Taruvinga.

Meanwhile, Zengeza West constituency legislator Job Sikhala will return to Harare High Court on Tuesday 26 January 2021, for continuation of the hearing of his bail appeal after it was postponed on Friday 22 January 2021 by Justice Davison Foroma, when law officers from National Prosecuting Authority requested for more time to go through the opposition party legislator's bail appeal.

Sikhala, who is represented by Jeremiah Bamu, Harrison Nkomo and Paidamoyo Saurombe of ZLHR, was denied bail by Harare Magistrate Ngoni Nduna on 15 January 2021 after he was arrested on 9 January 2021 and charged with publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the State.

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