OPPOSITION legislator for Harare West constituency Hon. Joana Mamombe
will remain in prison custody after a Zimbabwean court dismissed her
application challenging the lawfulness of her arrest and detention.
Hon. Mamombe was arrested on Saturday 2 March 2019 and charged with
subverting constitutional government as defined in section 22 of the
Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
Prosecutors alleged that Hon. Mamombe convened a press conference on
Monday 14 January 2019 in her constituency where she urged people to
overthrow President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government and encouraged
them to engage in civil disobedience and demonstrations in order to
shut down the country over the unilateral hiking of fuel and the high
cost of living.
The prosecutors charged that members of the public engaged in protests
from 14 January 2019 to 16 January 2019 after taking heed of Hon.
Mamombe’s address to the media.
On Tuesday 5 March 2019, Harare Magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa
dismissed applications which had been filed on Monday 4 March 2019 by
Hon. Mamombe’s lawyers Jeremiah Bamu and Obey Shava of Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), challenging the legality of the
arrest of the Harare West constituency legislator.
In their applications, Shava and Bamu had argued that Hon. Mamombe had
been over-detained by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers before
they brought her to appear in court and that she had not been lawfully
advised of the charges she faced upon her arrest in Nyanga, where she
was attending to parliamentary business.
But Magistrate Mugwagwa dismissed Hon. Mamombe’s applications and
ruled that ZRP officers had brought the legislator to court on time
but proceedings against her were delayed as the court was seized with
other matters which it couldn’t drop in preference for her matter.
Magistrate Mugwagwa ruled that the other issues which Hon. Mamombe’s
lawyers had raised could be ironed out during her trial.
Hon. Mamombe returns to court on Tuesday 19 March 2019 after
Magistrate Mugwagwa remanded her in custody.
Meanwhile, Chitungwiza North constituency legislator Hon. Godfrey
Sithole was charged with inciting and committing public violence after
he was arrested by ZRP officers on Friday 1 March 2019.
According to the State, Hon. Sithole, who is represented by Alec
Muchadehama of ZLHR, allegedly incited MDC Alliance party supporters
in his constituency when he addressed them on Monday 14 January 2019
urging them to demonstrate against the government.
The arrest of Hon. Mamombe and Hon. Sithole brings to five the number
of MDC Alliance legislators, who have been arrested in connection with
the anti-government protests held in January over the country’s
worsening economic crisis.