HomeNewsNgarivhume bail ruling postponed to Friday

Ngarivhume bail ruling postponed to Friday

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BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

A HARARE magistrate yesterday postponed the bail ruling of July 31 protest organiser Jacob Ngarivhume to Friday after submissions of a fresh bail application.

Ngarivhume, arrested on July 20 and represented by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights member Moses Nkomo, submitted his bail arguments before magistrate Trynos Utahwashe saying the passing of July 31 constitutes changed circumstances as no violence was recorded on the day.

Nkomo further submitted that changed circumstances were sufficient to justify bail admission.

“The passing of July 31 constitutes changed circumstances as he was denied bail due to the potentiality of violent protests on the day which has come and gone. There is no way Ngarivhume can now proceed or persist with the demonstration,” Nkomo said.

“The 31st of July was a peaceful day as there were no mass demonstrations as feared by the State in denying him bail. There were isolated demonstrations and a few arrests were made, including MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere and six others. The demonstrations were not violent and were made in compliance to COVID-19 regulations on social distancing. Mahere and others were granted bail by consent for participating in the demonstrations ostensibly incited by Ngarivhume. Passing of July 31 constitutes sufficient grounds for Ngarivhume to be admitted to bail,” Nkomo further said.

He proposed the court to grant Ngarivhume $5 000 bail, to stay at his provided residential address until the matter is finalised and to report at Waterfalls Police Station every Friday.

But the State represented by Michael Reza opposed the application, saying there were no changed circumstances and that he must stay behind bars.

“There are no changes in circumstances as July 31 has now migrated into a movement which is perpetual. This is no longer about a date. Ngarivhume has not announced to the court that July 31 is gone and that new movement has been born. We received a video from the investigating officer where Ngarivhume and (MDC Alliance deputy chairman) Job Sikhala played a video highlighting what they hoped to achieve by the July 31 protests,” Reza said.

“On August 14, 2020, Sikhala was quoted verbatim by Byo24 saying: ‘31st July is a convergence initiative of citizens on critical and urgent issues of national concern affecting the lives and livelihoods of ordinary Zimbabweans’.

“(President Emmerson) Mnangagwa is still in power, nothing has changed. The demonstration failed because it was leaderless. Granting him bail would make him achieve his objectives. The court cannot be persuaded to allow Ngarivhume to achieve his objectives. He is not a suitable candidate for bail as granting him this freedom has the potential to cause the perishing of many people as they will not adhere to COVID-19 restrictions,” Reza told the court.

Utahwashe postponed the matter to Friday for bail ruling.

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