Court rejects Hwende's remand refusal bid

HARARE Magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa has thrown out an application for refusal of further remand lodged by Kuwadzana East MDC MP Charlton Hwende.

Hwende, who is represented by top Harare lawyer Harrison Nkomo, is facing charges of attempting to overthrow the government.

He recently lodged an application on the basis that the Form 242 placed before the court does not warrant him to be on remand.
However, Mugwagwa turned down his application saying the utterances made on the legislator’s alleged Twitter account create a reasonable suspicion that the author was coercing the masses to unlawfully remove what he called an “illegal regime.”

“There is no mention of any legal means to remove the government like general elections. Section 67 of the Constitution provides for political rights but that right is not absolute.
“All rights must be exercised in a manner that other persons’ rights are not infringed and also through a manner consistent with the Constitution,” Mugwagwa said.

The magistrate said other issues raised by Nkomo are triable so the strengths of the evidence brought before the court will be determined after a fully-fledged trial.
“Application for refusal of removal from remand is dismissed,” she ruled.

Nkomo recently told the court that the Twitter account in question does not belong to Hwende and also argued that the alleged utterances do not constitute an offence.
It is alleged that Hwende’s posts encouraged people to engage in mass protests and hooliganism.
As a result, property was destroyed, lives were lost and members of the public were also injured, the State claims.

According to the State, Hwende wrote that 2019 should be the year of the final push to a new Zimbabwe.
“We cannot continue on this trajectory of failure and kwashiorkor of leadership. Enough is enough. In January citizens must organise themselves for a complete shutdown of the country.

“Stay at home no one will shoot you…2019 is the year of rolling mass action against the illegal regime of @edmnangagwa. We voted for @nelsonchamisa and we must be prepared like the thousands of gallant liberation struggle heroes to die defending our right to choose the president of our choice #2019Chamisamuoffice.”