Ngarivhume acquitted by the High Court Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume - File Picture

Fidelis Munyoro

The High Court has today quashed Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume’s conviction on a charge a public violence and a three-year jail term, after spending eight months in prison.

Charges against Ngarivhume arose from Twitter messages where he called for people to engage in public violence or join an illegal demonstration in July 2020.

Following his incarceration in April this year, Ngarivhume approached the High Court on appeal.

He at one time unsuccessfully, applied for bail pending appeal at the same court.

But today, a two-judge panel of Justices Pisirayi Kwenda and Fatima Maxwell, sitting as an Appeals Court, allowed the appeal by Ngarivhume, who was being represented by Professor Lovemore Madhuku.

The lower court had jailed Ngarivhume, on the grounds that the State had proved that Ngarivhume, through his actions, wanted or meant to incite the public to act in a disastrous and violent manner, according to the lower court’s ruling.

The court then decided that only an effective prison term would send a strong message to likely offenders that violence was frowned upon.

In passing sentence, the trial court said the decision to send Ngarivhume to jail was guided by the criminal laws of the country as to the sentence because once convicted of inciting members of the public to commit a crime, the accused had to be sentenced in accordance with the law and precedent.

During trial, the court heard that while in Harare’s city centre, Ngarivhume posted numerous messages on Twitter in an attempt to influence many people to engage in public violence or participate in a gathering that would disturb peace.

In some of the messages, Ngarivhume said he had met and consulted other stakeholders including Mr Ian Makone, Dr Shingi Munyeza, Mr Elton Mangoma and Godfrey Tsenengamu, as part of his efforts to mobilise people.

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