Anti-Mugabe protester freed

HARARE - High Court judge Happious Zhou yesterday freed political activist Promise Mkwananzi — facing charges of inciting public violence — on $100 bail.

Mkwananzi, jointly charged with Bruce Usvisvo, approached the High Court after Harare magistrate Tendai Mahwe denied him bail on the basis that he would interfere with investigations by intimidating witnesses.

However, Zhou, said Mkwananzi will not be in a position to interfere with the witnesses, who are members of the security forces, adding that in any event, an order for him not to interfere with witnesses can be made as part of the bail conditions.

He also freed Usvisvo on $50 bail.

Zhou further ordered the two to surrender their passports and report to the police once a week, as part of the bail conditions.

According to court papers, the two are accused of being part of a group of people that torched State vehicles during a protest last month.

Mkwananzi, through his lawyer Tonderai Bhatasara, argued that on the day the motor vehicles were torched, he was attending a workshop at Sapes Trust in Belgravia, Harare.

He said the workshop started at 8am and ended at 1pm.

“After lunch, appellant (Mkwananzi) stayed behind and continued with informal discussions with other participants including…Ibbo Mandaza, a renowned academic,” the court heard.

Mkwananzi said he never set foot in town on the day, because he knew that the demonstration was organised and participation was by MDC youths under the #MyZimbabwe banner.

He said he is not a member of the MDC or of any political party.

Mkwananzi, who was arrested after visiting the police station to fulfil his bail conditions in another matter, said the police did not investigate his alibi.

Usvisvo, a vendor, also denied the allegations, adding that he was only picked up by the police from his place of residence without being advised of the charges he was facing.

Mkwananzi and Usvisvo argued that Mahwe misdirected himself by denying them bail when he failed to consider the circumstances surrounding the case.

They said the State never substantiated its claims that they will intimidate the security forces.

“…there were no cognisable indications that appellants’ release to bail could endanger the administration of justice.

“Bail should not have been denied and the decision to contrary effect must be set aside.”

Prosecutor Sharon Fero had opposed the bail application, arguing that Mahwe did not misdirect himself by denying the two bail.

Comments (2)

Anti Mugabe protester? Really? This guy is an activist of note, come on Daily News. He is the spokesman for #Tajamuka.

Galore - 15 September 2016

To label someone an anti Mugabe protester would be in appropriate. The protests that are happening are against the system , the government. They are not targeting one person, but the Zanu Pf government that is failing to provide basic services to the populace. The concerns being raised by the protesters affect both ZANU PF , MDC ZIMPF, PDP, ZAPU MAVAMBO etc

Viona Ngwena - 15 September 2016

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