BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
KUWADZANA East Member of Parliament Chalton Hwende (MDC Alliance), who is facing charges of trying to subvert a constitutional government by inciting people to protest, was yesterday remanded in custody to March 30 by a Harare magistrate.
Hwende was arrested on Tuesday at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport while coming from Namibia.
The MP, who was represented by Harrison Nkomo appeared before magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa, who remanded him in custody, pending indictment at the High Court.
Nkomo complained that his client was arrested mid-air while aboard Air Namibia by police officers who were tracking him, saying it breached international laws since the accused was not in the jurisdiction of this country.
The lawyer also claimed that the police officers took his passport before he stamped and declared his passport, saying he wants to put it on record in case they want to charge him with violating immigration protocols.
Allegations are that sometime in December last year, Hwende posted Twitter messages that had the effect of inciting people to revolt against the government in his personal capacity as an opposition MP.
It is alleged that Hwende’s posts incited the public to engage in mass protests characterised by violence and hooliganism, ostensibly to overthrow a constitutionally elected government.
The State alleges that the messages incited members of the public by announcing that 2019 should be the year of a “final push” to a new Zimbabwe. It is alleged Hwende said: “We cannot continue on this trajectory of failure and kwashiorkor of leadership. Enough is enough. In January citizens must organise themselves for a complete shutdown of the country. Stay at home no one will shoot you.”
Hwende allegedly further indicated that 2019 is the year of rolling mass action against the illegal regime of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, saying people voted for MDC leader Nelson Chamisa and people must be prepared to die defending their right to choose the president of choice.
The State also alleges that during the period between January 14 and 16, in response to Hwende’s Twitter messages and other members of the opposition, various trade unions and pressure groups committed acts of violence and hooliganism countrywide.
As a result of the accused person’s utterances nationwide public violence was committed by protesters that left members of the police and public injured, some losing their lives, the State alleges.
Charles Muchemwa appeared for the State.