Activist Mkwananzi denied bail

HARARE - Political activist Promise Mkwananzi was yesterday denied bail after Harare magistrate Tendai Mahwe ruled that if released, he would not only interfere but “intimidate” State witnesses.

The State has lined up police officers as star witnesses to give evidence against the accused.

Mahwe further said the former students’ union leader was facing a serious charge that if convicted, would “face severe punishment”.

Mkwananzi, together with Kudakwashe Pate, are facing charges of inciting public violence using the group #Tajamuka, which led to the torching of State vehicles during sporadic demonstrations a fortnight ago.

They were remanded in custody to September 12.

It is the State’s case that the pair acted in connivance with other accused persons, who are still on the run, to start the protests of August 24.

“The court is of the view that both are not proper candidates for bail because of these reasons,” Mahwe said.

“The circumstances of the crime are so serious that if convicted, the two will face severe punishment.”

Mahwe said since the duo are being alleged to have acted in connivance with others and assaulted several members of the uniformed forces, they will “intimidate the police if released”.

“It’s therefore not in the interest of justice to grant the two bail. The accused are not suitable candidates for bail,” he said.

The duo’s defence counsel, Tonderai Bhatasara, had been convinced that his clients would receive bail as he had earlier argued that they were not a flight risk and would not abscond.

He said the accused did not resist arrest but handed themselves in.

“It is clear that the State has not submitted any compelling reasons to justify any further detention of the accused persons,” he said.

“There is no group called #Tajamuka. #Tajamuka is an ordinary phrase used by ordinary citizens to indicate that they are fed up of poverty corruption and general mismanagement of the economy,” Bhatasara said.

“So because there is no group, there cannot be any leader or head of a movement. But assuming Mkwananzi (and others) gathered at a place along Nelson Mandela, Section 67 of the Constitution provides for the right of assembly in peaceful activities.”

“Because of the weakness of the State case, there is no reason for them to abscond. In fact, they want to stand trial to clear their names,” he said.

He added that Mkwananzi and Peta had no chance to interfere or intimidate the State witnesses, as they were police and security forces who are unknown.

However, public prosecutor Michael Reza insisted that the accused would endanger the safety of the public if released on bail.

Reza said the defence could be right that the two accused don’t know each other but they acted in common purpose which he said was tantamount to connivance.

He also argued that they could interfere or intimidate the police, a sentiment which was later endorsed by magistrate Mahwe when he gave his ruling.

“ . . . a police man is a human being and if for an example a police women who was supposed to come and give evidence hears that these people have been granted bail, they will say ‘. . .I am not testifying’ out of fear,” he said.

Comments (7)

I urge all barristers to unite and represent the accused irregardless of which political party or civic group he belongs to. Any person incarcerated for fighting for democracy, Human rights and good governance must be represented free of charge. By so doing, we will ensure security of the cadres in the struggle. Mugabe is going...nomakanjani.July Oneck

Oneck July - 30 August 2016

he must rot in remand prison,and he must not abuse himself by thinking that the people of harare and mashonaland have sympathies for a person named mkhwananzi,they will not come in numbers like they did for mawarire and mahiya,by the time the young man realises he is being used,in a game he has no control,he will reflect on his journey from mdc tsvangirayi to the illfated biti project where all along he was used as a condom and disposed after use,WAKE UP PROMISE!!!!!!

truth - 30 August 2016

Zanu pf government machinery does not have imagination. It shall not be a defence to say we were acting on mugabe's orders when judgement day arrives. Put out fire with fire will only escalate things, as the people's position on the oppressive system are not going back.

X-MAN IV - 30 August 2016

@Truth, trabilism will not get you and ZPf anywhere. You have failed and you will continue to fail. ZPF has been the darkest force for 36 years. ViVa baba Mkhwananzi ViVa

Commander in Thief - 31 August 2016

No matter how many people you arrest for trying to air their greavances,you will never arrest the winds of change that are fast blowing through your bloodshot eyes.This rogue regime of zanu pf thrives on incarceration of innocent people just like what Ian Smith used to do.Zane pf have gone a notch higher for the mere reason that they are brutalising their own brothers and sisters.The courts and zanu pf politicians are actually widening the the rift between the police and the civilians.Zve Zhanu pf zvazopera

Janana wa Bikaz - 31 August 2016

No matter how many people you arrest for trying to air their greavances,you will never arrest the winds of change that are fast blowing through your bloodshot eyes.This rogue regime of zanu pf thrives on incarceration of innocent people just like what Ian Smith used to do.Zane pf have gone a notch higher for the mere reason that they are brutalising their own brothers and sisters.The courts and zanu pf politicians are actually widening the the rift between the police and the civilians.Zve Zhanu pf zvazopera

Janana wa Bikaz - 31 August 2016

How will he intimidate the police officers who in this case are the state witnesses? These are the usual intimidation tactics.

Galore - 31 August 2016

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.