Opposition Leader On Trial As Zim Authorities Persecute Rivals

Nyanga, 13 September, 2014 – Zimbabwean authorities are pressing ahead with the persecution of political activists after putting an opposition leader on trial for allegedly breaching the country’s tough security laws.

Jacob Chengedzeni Satiya Ngarivhume, the leader of Transform Zimbabwe party was this week forced to travel more than 300 kilometres out of the capital Harare to stand trial at Nyanga Magistrates Court in Manicaland province on charges of contravening the Public Order and Security Act (POSA).

Ngarivhume whose trial commenced on Wednesday is accused of contravening some provisions of POSA, which is considered to be an obnoxious piece of legislation by several human and political rights activists.

The State claimed that the 37 year-old  opposition leader held an unsanctioned meeting in Nyanga at Mangondoza Holy Cross Church in June , where he addressed 50 party supporters without notifying the police of the meeting thereby contravening Section 24 (6) of POSA.

State Prosecutor Calvin Mufute charged that Ngarivhume chanted his Transform Zimbabwe party political slogans such as “Viva Transform Zimbabwe, Transform Zimbabwe Viva” and also showed supporters the symbol of his party which is a “V” made by separating the middle and the forefingers. 

The State also claimed that Ngarivhume, who is represented by Peggy Tavagadza of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, also distributed his party fliers and also promised to return to Nyanga to set up Transform Zimbabwe party structures.

“The accused (Ngarivhume) had no right to convene a public gathering without notifying the regulatory authority,” reads part of the State outline.

During the trial which was presided over by Magistrate Ignatio Mhene, the State led evidence from two witnesses before the matter was postponed to 29 September for continuation.

Last month, a Victoria Falls Magistrate set free four Bulawayo Agenda (BA) officials who had been on trial for contravening some provisions of POSA.