Human rights campaigners to endure more jail time awaiting verdict on freedom bid

By Court Reporter

FOUR human rights defenders (HRDs) who were arrested for allegedly
plotting to overthrow President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government will
endure more jail time after a High Court Judge deferred delivery of
his ruling on their bail application to next week.

The four HRDs namely George Makoni, Tatenda Mombeyarara, Gamuchirai
Mukura and Frank Nyasha Mpahlo had their bail application heard by
High Court Judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi on Thursday 30 May 2019 and
Friday 31 May 2019 before he postponed the matter to Friday 7 June
2019, when he will hand down his ruling on the quartet’s freedom bid.

Justice Chitapi indicated that the alleged case against the four HRDs
is a serious matter hence he needs to write a full judgment which he
will deliver on Friday 7 June 2019.

Makoni, Mombeyarara, Mukura and Mpahlo were arrested on Monday 20 May
2019 and charged with subverting constitutional government as defined
in section 22(2)(a)(iii) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform)
Act.

Prosecutors accused the quartet of travelling to Maldives on 13 May
2019, where they allegedly attended a training workshop organised by
Centre for Applied Non Violent Action and Strategies (CANVAS), a
Serbian non-governmental organisation, with the intention of
subverting a constitutionally elected government.

The State claims that during the training workshop, the four human
rights campaigners, who are represented by Godfrey Mupanga and
Jeremiah Bamu of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, were trained on
how to mobilise citizens to turn against the government and to engage
in acts of civil disobedience and or resistance to any law during some
anticipated national protests organised by some anti-government
movements.

The law enforcements agents charged that Makoni, Mombeyarara, Mukura
and Mpahlo were also trained on how to operate small arms and to evade
arrest during civil unrest and on counter-intelligence and acts of
terrorism.

Two other human rights campaigners namely Rita Nyamupinga and Stabile
Dewa, who were also arrested on Monday 27 May 2019 and charged with
subverting constitutional government, appeared in court on Wednesday
29 May 2019 and were remanded in custody to Thursday 6 June 2019.