Mawarire locked up

SOCIAL activist and cleric, Evan Mawarire was yesterday, predictably, remanded in custody to February 17 on charges of subverting a constitutionally-elected government, in proceedings that could easily precipitate what could be the “trial of the decade”.

BY XOLISANI NCUBE

#ThisFlag leader, Evan Mawarire waves to his supporters as he leaves the Harare Magistrates’ Court yesterday

#ThisFlag leader, Evan Mawarire waves to his supporters as he leaves the Harare Magistrates’ Court yesterday

While agreeing with the defence that Mawarire, who held a Bible throughout the hearing, could challenge his placement on remand, magistrate, Elisha Singano said there was “reasonable suspicion that he committed an offence”.

“The accused’s conduct links him to the offence charged,” the magistrate ruled.

Addressing a packed courtroom, the State’s lead prosecutor, Edmore Nyazamba argued that Mawarire had breached the Constitution, which places limitations on the exercise of individual rights such as disobedience to government policies.

“Mawarire is #ThisFlag founder, facing charges of subverting a constitutionally-elected government and also inciting public violence. He incited the public on social media and this caused several properties to be destroyed,” the prosecutor said.

Nyazamba said Mawarire would also face trial for embarrassing President Robert Mugabe at a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, after he called for another demonstration in New York last year.

The prosecutor accused Mawarire of pushing for public resistance to Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016, which banned selected goods from being imported into the country, the introduction of bond notes and the presence of police officers on the roads, saying the State would produce videos and statements.

After raising a complaint against the police, arguing that Mawarire was arrested by members of the Central Intelligence Organisation, who refused to identify themselves, but insisted on interrogating him, thereby, violating his rights, the cleric’s lawyer, Harrison Nkomo, a member of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, argued against remand.

Nyazamba said he had taken note of the complaint and promised to provide the court with a report on the issue.
“The State has failed to convince the court as to why Mawarire should be placed on remand,” Nkomo continued.

“The facts placed before the court, thus far, do not establish a case for Mawarire to be placed on remand,” he said, quoting a 1991 Supreme Court judgment that gave an accused the right to challenge placement on remand.

“Mawarire’s actions do not constitute an attempt to remove a constitutionally-elected government, as required by section 22(2) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. What the accused did is constitutional, as provided for under section 61 of the Constitution, which is freedom of expression. Every Zimbabwe citizen has a right to influence, challenge or support any government policy under section 67 of the Constitution. The documents presented by the State do not show that Mawarire tried to violently influence resentment of a government policy.”

Nkomo said Mawarire had not committed an offence in asking Mugabe to resign.

“It is not a crime provided by section 67 of the Constitution. If the President agrees with Mawarire, he has the right to use section 96 of the Constitution to tender his resignation to the Speaker (of Parliament),” he said.

“So there is nothing wrong with what he is alleged to have committed. In any case, urging people not to go to work is not illegal.

“Anyone, who embarked on violence after Mawarire’s call for people to oppose government policy, was not responding to his call because he urged them to boycott through passive resistance and not violently.”

But Nyazamba argued that Mawarire urged people to revolt and that the political rights that Mawarire has should be exercised in a peaceful manner.

“In urging people to resist government policy, Mawarire was coercing them into civil disobedience, whether the resistance is active or passive does not matter,” he said.

“It is clear, therefore, that there is a possibility that the accused may have committed an offence to warrant his placement on remand.”

Nkomo argued that the State was basing its arguments on “half-truths”, accusing the prosecutors of seeking to alter the charge sheet.

“The State has failed to respond to the fact that it is perfectly legal to demand that a sitting President must resign and if the President agrees, he should do so as provided for under section 97 of the Constitution,” he argued.

As he walked into a prison van, the cleric waved to a small group of supporters and shouted: “Justice shall be served. God bless you all.”

Mawarire returned to Zimbabwe on Wednesday, but was immediately arrested by State security agents.

He is facing charges of subversion, plots to remove a constitutionally-elected government, abuse of the national flag and inciting public violence, which attracts a minimum 20-year jail sentence.

His lawyers said they would apply for bail at the High Court on Monday.

The cleric was arrested at Harare International Airport on arrival from the United States after six months in self-imposed exile.

28 Responses to Mawarire locked up

  1. zaka jerera February 4, 2017 at 5:21 am #

    political persecution

  2. karanda February 4, 2017 at 7:50 am #

    Surely justice will prevail

  3. Zet February 4, 2017 at 7:56 am #

    what does it help persecuting civilians? He made the best decision to leave his family in the States

  4. JANITA February 4, 2017 at 8:10 am #

    There was no violence at all.

    LEAVE OFFICE MUGABE AND YOUR THIEVES AND SET THE PEOPLE FREE

  5. layaan February 4, 2017 at 8:56 am #

    This Zanu PF government is full of bustards.They ran away from important issues dznaJona coz he is one of their prodical sons.zvimwe zvacho zvinopedza simba.Justice will prevail

  6. karaga inno February 4, 2017 at 9:24 am #

    God is watching

  7. Kudzi Chipanga February 4, 2017 at 9:55 am #

    Mazvokuda avanga enyora.

  8. Murenga February 4, 2017 at 10:27 am #

    Mazvokuda eyi. Kusanyara. This is cruelty of the worst kind. You are busy stealing from the people and you throw them into your filthy cells when they dare to speak out. #Zvichapera.

  9. farai tsaukai February 4, 2017 at 10:30 am #

    I honestly do not know whether we still have competent intelligence officers.cant somebody see you are giving this the Pastor millage.This most intelligent thing was simply to ignore him and pretend not even care about him whilst you investigate whats happening behind him.he is not stupid to just fly in when he knew he had very high chances he wld arrested.watch the international community

  10. Willard Tramposo February 4, 2017 at 10:50 am #

    What this Cleric is going thru is a result of living in a nation full of cowards and educated fools. There are very few brave people in Zimbabwe, namely, Tsvangirai, Mawarire etc and when they get into sh!t no one will be there for them, the so called supporters will simply put their tails btwn the legs and hide.

  11. Willard Tramposo February 4, 2017 at 10:51 am #

    Nxa!

  12. Mutoriti February 4, 2017 at 11:19 am #

    Handiti maiti hee Mutoriti wanyara,zvino ndezvipi?I told you kuti munonyengedzana vanhu imimi.kkkkkkkkkkkkk.now he is rotting in remand while you the supporters are commenting comfortably in the comfort of your home/offices!endai naye kujere kana muri matrue friends.we will make sure he is hanged for treason.mazvokuda,unofira mahara,kkkkkkkkkkkk

  13. critical critic February 4, 2017 at 11:21 am #

    There is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of the law and in the name of justice- Montesquieu

  14. judza February 4, 2017 at 12:44 pm #

    mutoriti uriduzvi nyoro

  15. Jamengweni Godonga February 4, 2017 at 1:29 pm #

    Yeah, he is in remand but one should have asked Joshua NKOMO what he went through; hell. Lokhu kuncane lokhu. SAdly these gooks will stoop so low to even prop someone into heroism. Shame…

  16. Mombs February 4, 2017 at 2:27 pm #

    The treatment of Roy Bennett ,the kidnappings of Testing Mukoko and Itayi Dzamara, have encouraged the evil regime as they now know that people will do nothing. Mawarire will suffer in vain , sadly.

  17. Tembertshuma February 4, 2017 at 2:35 pm #

    Furck u all zanupf members and yr boss.mutoriti@ u a very stupid kana makaona kuti anemosva makaregera sei achienda nasi adzoka makuita take take naye muchishandisa hutsinye. Murihurumende yevanhu kana kuti yehutsinye shit dzevanhu and yr 93 year old fool

  18. minion February 4, 2017 at 3:59 pm #

    wamama mawarire you wanted to disturb our peace

    • Madiro February 4, 2017 at 4:45 pm #

      Iwe nani…. don’t say ‘our peace’ because you and you alone is enjoying that peace because you live in Mugabe’s rectum.
      In other words ‘You are POOH’.

      • Out Post February 4, 2017 at 8:10 pm #

        Minion, uri mhata. what peace are u talking about? Mbavha dze zanu pf

  19. Cde Coup February 4, 2017 at 5:03 pm #

    ls it a crime to ask a President to resign? That is politics. What is actually a crime is not asking him to? Citizens have a right to demonstrate and mobilize. Read our constitution.

  20. Out Post February 4, 2017 at 8:01 pm #

    Mutoriti, uri duzvi hauna nyaya. Mugabe zvaakagara mujeri 10yrs haana kuzokutonga here. Did he go to prison with his suporters?

  21. Nokuda February 5, 2017 at 2:00 am #

    This is abuse of the judiciary system in order to hang on to power. Where else in the world would it be a crime to call upon the president or PM to resign?
    But they will not be able to sustain this long term as Mugabe continues to age and the economy continues to flounder.
    Also what is the purpose of remanding Mawarire? Does the magistrate know the purpose of remand? In this case its being use for the sole purpose of punishing the pastor.

  22. Cde Chinotimba February 5, 2017 at 6:44 am #

    Vafundisi ngavaite basa rekuparidza. Ini Chinoz naCde president ndozvatisingade kuona zvimapastor zvinomukira hurumende. Ana Muzorewa nanaSthole akazvitadza izvi anga ari maPastor makuru. Mawarire akanyeperwa na Donald Trump kuti enda unobvisa Mgabe zvino unokaura chete

    • Respond February 5, 2017 at 7:33 am #

      Mbavha, killers, mhondi, corrupt ndezvako izvo zvo. Pamberi na Mawarire.
      What these CIOs dont know is if they kill, ngozi inouya kumba kwako kwete kwa Mugabe.

      • pfundo February 5, 2017 at 10:57 am #

        time shall come all what is happening shall have results

  23. Chinotimba February 5, 2017 at 2:05 pm #

    Mufundisi wenyu akatumwa naDonald Trump. Manje zvose tikuzviziva. Isusu takadzinga mabhunu nepfuti akatiza zvaisemesa. Ana Trump havazvigone izvi zvakatadzikwa naBush mhondi huru. Blair akazvitadza akazvisiya. Iwe Mawarire waguta indipendence ndiwe unoti pwitiri pwitiri zvino uchazviona. Enda kuna biyako ana Gumbura nanaMadzibaba Shimairi.

  24. mamwinde February 6, 2017 at 9:06 am #

    behind you all the way pastor e, justice shall prevail!!

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