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Protesters deny public violence charges


THE trial of two budding pro-democracy campaigners accused of public violence kicked off on Tuesday at the Harare Magistrates’ court with the activists denying the charge.


Namatai Kwekweza (22) and Esther Vongai Zimudzi (23) denied the charge of participating in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of peace, or bigotry as defined in section 37(1)(b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act when they appeared before Harare Magistrate Vongai Muchuchutu-Guwuriro.

Kwekweza and Zimudzi, who were represented by Tinashe Chinopfukutwa and Rudo Bere of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights were arrested by the police on June 19 after they allegedly gathered at the New Government Complex in Harare where they intended to hand over a petition to Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi.

They were protesting against the holding of some public hearings into proposed amendments to the Constitution.

The State alleged that Kwekweza, who is a member of WeLead Organisation for Young People and Zimudzi, who is a member of Section 20 Organisation and are currently out of custody on $3 000 bail each, displayed placards which read: “A senseless charade in the name of the Constitution Amendment No 2 Bill public hearing . . . Minister you are out of order”; “!!!#Ngazvitangidzwe!!!”; “3,3 million Zimbabweans were consulted about the Constitution in 2013, 94,4% voted yes”; “Don’t amend the Constitution until you consult 3,3 million Zimbabweans”; “#Stop cosmetic Constitutions” and “Don’t take advantage of COVID-19”.

The State that led evidence from one witness, Assistant Inspector Joram Mupona, said Kwekweza and Zimudzi’s actions were abusive, insulting and intended to provoke the breach of peace.

The two pro-democracy campaigners were remanded to December 4 for continuation of trial, where two State witnesses namely Constables Austin Muzvuve and Rosemary Mutsure, who are both members of the police will give evidence against them.
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