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Ngarivhume used inciting language: Court

by Staff reporter
24 Jul 2020 at 07:40hrs | Views
In making calls for public demonstrations, Jacob Ngarivhume used inflammatory language in his tweets aimed at causing violence and breaching peace in the country, a Harare regional magistrate has said when denying bail and remanding him in custody to August 6.

Ngarivhume is being charged with incitement to commit public violence or alternatively incitement to participate in a gathering with the intent to promote public violence.

His charges arose after he allegedly posted messages through his Twitter handle between March 1 and July 20, calling for protests against Government.

Magistrate Mr Trynos Utahwashe said the fears expressed by police leading to Ngarivhume's arrest and opposing the granting of bail, were "well grounded'', as his language called for confrontational actions.

He said this while making a ruling in Ngarivhume's bail application before remanding him to August 6 for routine remand.

Mr Utahwashe said the court took judicial notice of the prevailing economic conditions and the coronavirus pandemic when dismissing his bail application. He noted that Ngarivhume leads a small political party without even a seat in Parliament, and questioned how he intended to carry out any countrywide demonstrations.

"How does he intend to control the huge crowds during the countrywide demonstrations?" asked Mr Utahwashe. "How does he intend to carry out the demonstrations without contravening the Covid-19 regulations."

Mr Utahwashe said police had a constitutional duty to detect and prevent the commission of crimes. Ngarivhume had applied for bail, arguing that the police took him to court after the mandatory 48 hours had lapsed and so he should be unconditionally released.

The State, led by Mr Jonathan Murombedzi and Mr Michael Reza, alleged 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, he said he met and consulted different stakeholders including Mr Ian Makone, Dr Shingi Munyeza, Mr Elton Mangoma and Godfrey Tsenengamu, as part of his efforts to mobilise people.

Political activist, Hopewell Chin'ono, who is facing similar allegations, appeared before magistrate Mr Ngoni Nduna yesterday applying for bail. Chin'ono is expected back in court today for continuation of his bail application.

Source - the herald