FREELANCE journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and Zengeza West constituency legislator Hon. Job Sikhala will once again spend the weekend in jail after High Court Judge Justice Davison Foroma reserved his ruling on the media practitioner and the university student and postponed hearing of the parliamentarian’s freedom bid to next week.
On Thursday 21 January 2021, Justice Foroma reserved judgment after hearing submissions by Chin’ono’s lawyers Harrison Nkomo, Paidamoyo Saurombe and Jeremiah Bamu of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), who argued that Harare Magistrate Lazini Ncube had erred and misdirected himself in denying him bail when he was a suitable candidate who should have been released from jail and only present himself when asked to stand trial.
Chin’ono was arrested on Friday 8 January 2021 and charged with publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the State as defined in section 31(a)(iii) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act after he allegedly tweeted about the abuse of a minor by a police officer.
Prosecutors alleged that the 49 year-old Chin’ono published a false statement to members of the public on Twitter between 5 January 2021 and 7 January 2021 falsely alleging that a child had been beaten to death by a police officer after law enforcement agents indiscriminately assaulted the mother of the child in Harare.
On Friday 22 January 2021, Justice Foroma deferred hearing of Hon. Sikhala’s bail appeal to Tuesday 26 January 2021 after law officers from National Prosecuting Authority requested for more time to go through the opposition party legislator’s bail appeal.
Hon. Sikhala, who is represented by Bamu, Nkomo and Saurombe of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), was denied bail by Harare Magistrate Ngoni Nduna on 15 January 2021 after he was arrested on 9 January 2021 and charged with publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the State.
Justice Foroma also reserved judgment after hearing an appeal filed by University of Zimbabwe student Allan Moyo, who has spent more than 40 days in prison following his arrest on Monday 7 December 2020 by Zimbabwe Republic Police members who charged him with incitement to commit public violence as defined in section 187(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act as read with section 36(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act after he allegedly called for a revolt against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.
Justice Foroma said he needed more time to consider all the extensive submissions filed by Moyo’s lawyer Obey Shava of ZLHR and those by the state before coming up with a proper determination.
Prosecutors claim that the 23 year-old Moyo incited some commuters on 3 July 2020 at Copacabana bus terminus in Harare when he addressed and told them that the time to stage a revolt against President Mnangagwa’s administration in Zimbabwe was conducive as the ZANU PF party leader has failed the people of Zimbabwe.
Prosecutors also alleged that Moyo told commuters that President Mnangagwa’s government was not capable of presiding over the country’s affairs as it has presided over the suffering of people in Zimbabwe.
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