Mawarire trial opens

Evan Mawarire

Evan Mawarire

Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
The trial of This Flag Campaign leader Evan Mawarire on allegations of attempting to overthrow President Mugabe unlawfully opened yesterday at the High Court, with the activist denying the charges.

Mawarire attended the trial from police custody where he was being held on fresh charges following his arrest at the weekend. High Court judge Justice Priscilla Chigumba granted him bail in respect of the old case for which he is being tried, but he remained under police custody pending appearance at the magistrate’s court for the fresh charges.

He was ordered to report once every week at Avondale Police Station and to continue staying at his given address pending finalisation of the case. He was warned against interfering with State witnesses. Justice Chigumba ordered Mawarire to surrender title deeds to his parents’ plot in Kwekwe as surety.

Mawarire, who was represented by Mr Harrison Nkomo and Mr Garikai Mhishi of Mhishi Legal Practice, pleaded not guilty to charges of subverting a constitutional government and alternatively, inciting people to commit public violence.

In his defence outline, he argued that the particulars of the first charge of subverting a constitutional Government did not disclose any offence and that he should be found not guilty. Mawarire denied neither attempting to overthrow the Government nor inciting violence, saying he was simply expressing his views through the campaign.

“He shall deny that he neither wanted to remove the current Government by unconstitutional means nor incited the public to commit violence,” read the defence outline.

“He shall tell the court that all he did was to express his thoughts in a lawful manner. He shall challenge the State to place before the court any evidence which exhibits criminal conduct on his part.” The trial was yesterday adjourned to allow the defence team to watch video clips which form the basis of the State’s allegations. The trial continues today with witnesses testifying.

Mawarire was arrested at the Harare International Airport in February this year on his return from the United States and appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court.

He was denied bail, but High Court judge Justice Clement Phiri later freed him. It is the State’s case that between July 13 and December last year, Mawarire used the print and electronic media to incite Zimbabweans to revolt against the constitutionally elected-Government.

He allegedly urged people not to go to work, but engage in violent demonstrations. It is further alleged that on September 15, 2016, Mawarire called on US-based Zimbabweans to converge in New York and confront President Mugabe, who was attending the United Nations General Assembly. He urged people to embarrass President Mugabe and call for his immediate resignation, the State alleged.

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  • Mawani Atanga

    Since he pretends to help Zimbabweans, sentencing him to a long prison term would be good for him as he can join Gumbura to form a prison church where he can have close contact with Zimbabweans in there who really need his prayers.
    Hallelujah.

    • chakutareal

      he wants to help you who is not in custody

    • yowe

      Mbwa

      • Proud Zimbo

        very sad country. How did we allow our country to be raped by thugs

  • i am zimbabwean

    forcing a resignation??? why not just let the laws of nature act up…nature works every 24hrs, the sun never forgets to come up, neither does it forget to go… takabva muhuruva tichadzokera mukuva huruva… difference is others have their papers approved for tommrrow, others months others years, others decades… vamwe hazvidi kutaurwa kuti 2018 havasvike

  • Trex1

    One day the people of Zimbabwe will be free.

  • Munhu Wezimbabwe

    Usatinyepere, akuudza kuti we do not support him ndiani? Vanhu veZanu muri thick.

  • john

    I think he is a terrorist and should be shot when apprehended as a terrorist.
    I

  • john

    received

  • john

    He should have been shot as a terrorist.
    As a pensioner I ,like others, received a WhatsApp saying that if we went to buy food our car would be burnt and our house set alight.
    He calls himself a pastor but doesn’t know the bible which states he should obey the government.
    His plan according to a personal statement was his church congregation was small and he didn’t had enough money for school fees so if he incited violence and anti – government propaganda by way of a shut down, he would get funding from gullible NGO’s, other churches and foreign embassies and it worked. His family are now in the USA, his lawyer is paid, he is a wealthy man in our terms but what of the hard workers that lost pay because they could not go to work. What of us Christians who he has embarrassed.
    When this kind of thing occurs it causes investors to pull out etc. at a cost to us all.
    If you start and run an organization you cant say you are not responsible for its actions.
    You can t accept all the publicity and then say in court it was another.
    If any person accepts foreign funds to cause disruption in any country in the world it is terrorism, and he admits his family are now in the US, who paid?
    He is guilty and in my view doesn’t even warrant a court case.