Tendai Rupapa Senior Reporter
A HARARE magistrate yesterday dismissed an application by This#Flag leader Evan Mawarire challenging his placement on remand. Mawarire was arrested this week following the violence that rocked Harare and some cities. He is facing allegations of subverting a constitutionally elected Government or alternatively inciting public violence.
Regional magistrate Ms Lucy Mungwari said facts outlined by the prosecution disclosed an offence. Ms Mungwari said Mawarire’s conduct should be assessed on trial. He placed the suspect on remand pending trial.
Mawarire was remanded in custody to January 31. He was advised to seek bail at the High Court as he is facing a serious offence.
Mawarire’s lawyers, Ms Beatrice Mtetwa and Mr Tonderai Bhatasara, argued that there was no reasonable suspicion warranting his placement on remand.
In response, prosecutor Mr Mirirai Shumba maintained that Mawarire’s utterances caused civil disobedience.
He said Mawarire’s actions were in sync with the charge he is facing hence he should be placed on remand.
“The facts disclose a reasonable suspicion that indeed an offence was committed. There is video clip from which these allegations are emanating,” he said.
The State alleges that on January 14, Mawarire in connivance with the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president Peter Mutasa, recorded and published a video for the Zimbabwean populace which went viral on social media platforms, including YouTube, Twitter, WhatsApp and Facebook, which have a world coverage.
It is the State’s case that the contents of the video were meant to subvert a constitutional government in that Mawarire was coercing the Zimbabwean workers not to report for duty and encouraging civil disobedience or resistance to any law.
Meanwhile, at least 70 people accused of participating in the violent demonstrations that rocked parts of Harare on Monday and Tuesday were yesterday denied bail at the Mbare Magistrates’ Court, writes our court corresorrespondent Prosper Dembedza.
The accused persons from Epworth, Mabvuku, Mbare, Highfield and Southlea Park are facing charges of perpetrating public violence.
Magistrate Mr Stanford Mambanje denied the accused persons bail on the basis that they were facing a serious offence and were likely to abscond if set free.
Their lawyers tried unsuccessfully to stop the matter from going for trial arguing that their clients were not served with State papers.
The accused persons are denying the allegations.
The trial came a day after national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi on Thursday issued a statement warning members who participated in the violent demonstrations which disrupted the smooth movement of people or vehicles that the law would take its course.
On Wednesday, Government said MDC-Alliance and its allies who organised demonstrations that degenerated into an orgy of violence, arson and looting should compensate members of the public for the loss of their property.
Three people including a police officer also lost their lives in the violent demonstrations. Minister of State for Security Owen Ncube said people whose property was destroyed and had goods looted should quantify the damages and report to their nearest police stations.