#ThisFlag movement leader, Evan Mawarire yesterday stuck to his guns, saying the charge of attempting to overthrow President Robert Mugabe’s government levelled against him did not constitute any offence.
BY CHARLES LAITON
Mawarire made the remarks when he appeared before High Court judge, Justice Priscilla Chigumba for trial on a subversion charge.
The cleric, who was in police custody when he appeared in court, was again forced to make a fresh bail application, through his lawyer, Harrison Nkomo, after his initial bail was revoked by the court by operations of law.
Chigumba eventually released Mawarire on similar previous bail conditions, adding that he must not commit a similar offence while on bail for which if arrested, his bail would be forfeited to the State.
However, Mawarire yesterday remained in custody following his Sunday arrest on a different charge, for which he is to appear at the magistrates’ court today.
In his defence, Mawarire said the particulars of the main charge of attempting to overthrow Mugabe’s government could not stick because the Constitution allows him freedom of speech.
“There is no allegation that whether inside or outside Zimbabwe, he (Mawarire) organised or set up or advanced, urged or suggested the organisation or setting-up of any group or body with a view that the group or body overthrows the government by unconstitutional means,” his lawyer said.
“There is no suggestion in the State papers that he had put in place a group to take over or attempt to take over the government by unconstitutional means or usurp the functions of government.
“There are no allegations that he attempted to coerce the government in the strict sense of the legal definition of the word.”
Chief law officer, Chris Mutangadura opened the State’s case by calling Detective Chief Inspector Edmore Runganga, who told the court that he arrested Mawarire after viewing the video footage in which the cleric was captured encouraging Zimbabweans to shut down the country and revolt against Mugabe’s government.
The trial continues today.