Prosper Dembedza Court Correspondent
Kuwadzana East legislator Chalton Hwende’s bid for freedom in a case in which he is facing charges of subverting a constitutionally-elected Government, flopped yesterday after his application for refusal of further remand was dismissed.
Hwende made the application at the Harare Magistrate’s Courts after the State led by Mr Lancelotte Mutsokoti applied for further postponement of the matter due to complex extra territorial investigations.
In the application, Mr Mutsokoti told the court that the State was waiting for authority from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to travel to Northern Ireland to verify the owner of the Twitter account that was allegedly used by Hwende.
Hwende’s defence council then submitted its application, arguing that the State had taken too long without furnishing them with a trial date.
The defence submitted that continued remand was prejudicing its client financially as he was paying legal fees for each court sitting.
Harare magistrate Mrs Rumbidzai Mugwagwa granted the State’s application on the basis that it should be given time.
She remanded the matter to March 18.
It is alleged that during the period extending from December 28 to 31, 2018, Hwende posted on his Twitter handle messages that had the potential of inciting people to revolt against the Government, both in his personal capacity and as an MDC-Alliance Member of Parliament for Kuwadzana East constituency.
Hwende’s Twitter posts allegedly incited the public to attempt to overthrow the constitutionally-elected Government of Zimbabwe by engaging in mass protests characterised by violence and hooliganism.
It is further alleged that Hwende’s Twitter messages told members of the public that 2019 should be the year of the final push for what he termed a new Zimbabwe.
“We can’t 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.”
The State further alleged that Hwende posted a message to the effect that 2019 was the year of rolling mass action against President Mnangagwa.
“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,” tweeted Hwende.
Between January 14 and 16 last year, members of the opposition, various trade unionists, pressure groups, youth forums and the general public committed various acts of public violence and hooliganism countrywide in response to the Twitter messages.