BY CHARLES LAITON
FOUR pro-democracy campaigners, who were arrested at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport on Monday night on allegations of plotting to subvert President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government, were yesterday denied bail when they appeared before a Harare magistrate.
The quartet of George Makoni, Tatenda Mombeyarara, Gamuchirai Mukura and Nyasha Mpahlo, appeared before regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya charged with subversion and were advised to apply for bail at the High Court. They were all represented by human rights lawyer, Jeremiah Bamu.
The State alleges that the four allegedly participated in a meeting held in Maldives during an unknown period, where they hatched a plot to topple Mnangagwa’s government through civil disobedience.
According to the State on May 13, 2019, the suspects, who are all members of various civic society organisations, allegedly connived with their accomplices, who are still at large and travelled to Maldives where they underwent a training workshop organised by a Serbian non-governmental organisation (NGO) called Centre for Applied Non-violent Action and Strategies (CANVAS) aimed at subverting a constitutionally elected government.
“During the workshop, the accused (Makoni, Mombeyarara, Mukura and Mpahlo), were trained on how to mobilise citizens to turn against the government and to engage in acts of civil disobedience and or
resistance to any law during the anticipated national protest by anti-government movements,” read part of the State’s papers.
“The accused were also trained on how to operate small arms and to evade arrest during civil unrest.”
The State also alleges that the quartet was taught basics of counter intelligence and acts of terrorism. The four were arrested upon arrival at the airport and their laptops, cellphones and notes from the workshop, that contained the alleged subversive materials, were seized by the State.
On Monday this week, NGOs accused government of muzzling civic society and using unconventional ways to silence them following the arrest of the four activists.