By Professor Matodzi
Harare, July 13, 2016 – PROMINENT civil rights activist and cleric Evan Mawarire was Wednesday evening released without paying any bail.
His release ignited wild celebrations from hundreds of activists who sat through the lengthy court process at the Harare magistrate’s court.
Presiding magistrate Vakai Chikwekwe refused the state’s attempts to put the #ThisFlag campaigner on remand saying he had not been properly brought before his court and was accordingly acquitted of all charges brought against him.
This follows a full day’s court process at the Harare magistrate’s court in which human rights lawyers fought to secure his release from state custody on bail.
Mawarire was arrested Tuesday and immediately charged with inciting public violence following his continued calls for Zimbabweans to stay away from their work places in protest over poor leadership by President Robert Mugabe.
Police went on to search his Harare home and church office in attempts to find evidence linking him to attempts to sabotage the state.
Hundreds on Wednesday thronged the court building in solidarity with the Baptist church pastor.
During Wednesday’s proceedings, the state fought to have his amended charges pressed against Mawarire to subverting a constitutional government in contravention of Section 22 (2) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act and treason.
Lawyers argued that this was unconstitutional to ambush him with fresh charges as it emerged the state was desperate to pin something against the increasingly popular activist.