MDC A activist on terrorism trial in the UK

22 Jan, 2022 - 00:01 0 Views
MDC A activist on terrorism trial in the UK

The Herald

Herald Reporter

MDC Alliance activist  William Chinyanga, who in 2019 instigated his followers on social media platforms to bomb the Zanu PF Headquarters, is on trial in the United Kingdom on terrorism charges in a test case on how the world can clampdown global terrorism.

According to the British media, Chinyanga, a staunch MDC-A supporter led by Mr Nelson Chamisa, is on trial for encouraging his followers on Facebook over two days to carry a series of bombings in Zimbabwe to remove the constitutionally elected Government of Zimbabwe.

It is claimed the supply teacher, who lives in north London, told his Facebook followers to “open gunfire on a gathering of people and use guerrilla warfare”. Chinyanga faces four counts of encouraging terrorism, which he denies.

A UK prosecutor Sean Larkin QC said Chinyanga, who was born in Zimbabwe, sought asylum in 2009 and was granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

“There is no dispute he is an opponent of the Zimbabwean Government. He had a Facebook account and over two days, the 1st and 2nd December 2019 he live-streamed four speeches to his Facebook followers, over 7 000 followers. He speaks in a mixture of English and Shona and he speaks against the Zimbabwean Government.

The prosecution case is that he went far beyond legitimate complaint or protest against the government and committed the offences with which he is charged. Jurors were told that Chinyanga was a ‘long-standing opponent of the Zimbabwean regime’ although only four of the speeches he posted were the subject of charges.

“In the course of these speeches he encouraged his followers to bomb the headquarters of Zanu-PF, bomb the motorcade of the leader of the Zanu-PF, bomb petrol stations, it seems intending to disrupt the economy and bring revolution, attack police officers in their cars, attack soldiers.

“He encouraged his followers to share the speeches with others,’’ said Mr Larkin.

After police became aware of a speech he posted titled ‘The strategy to remove Zanu PF announcement’, Chinyanga was interviewed in February 2020.

He admitted posting the speech and wanting to overthrow his country’s Government and was released under investigation, in the course of which officers found his other speeches.

A surge in cyber terrorism, that include social media propaganda and extremism last year saw SADC member states calling for the establishment of robust mechanisms that counter the spread of terrorism on social media platforms.

In Zimbabwe, several MDC Alliance activists have been abusing social media platforms such as Twitter, WhatsApp and Facebook to spread anti-Government propaganda albeit with little repercussions prompting analysts to call for the enactment of laws that will deter the widespread practices.

However, lucky ran out for Chinyanga, who was arrested and arraigned before the courts in that country on four charges of terrorism and could be jailed if found guilty.

In a video shared in early December 2019 – titled ‘The Roadmap to Zimbabwean Freedom’— Chinyanga allegedly called upon his listeners to burn buses, petrol stations, fuel tankers and buildings to exert political pressure. He was reported to the police and now awaits trial on charges of terrorism.



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