Hwende Protests Against Inordinate Delay in Commencement of Subversion Trial

HARARE Magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa will on Monday 2 March 2020 hand down a ruling on a bid by the State to keep Kuwadzana East constituency legislator Hon. Chalton Hwende under prosecution without being put on trial on charges of plotting to overthrow President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.

When Hon. Hwende appeared before Magistrate Mugwagwa at Harare Magistrates Court on Friday 28 February 2020, it was anticipated that the State would indict him for trial at the High Court.

But prosecutors from the National Prosecuting Authority told Magistrate Mugwagwa that the State was not ready to do so and applied that the opposition MDC Alliance party Secretary-General’s matter be postponed to 16 March 2020.

However, the application for postponement of the matter was vigorously opposed by Hon. Hwende’s lawyer Harrison Nkomo of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, who argued that the opposition legislator should be removed from remand as the state had taken close to a year without putting his client on trial.

Magistrate Mugwagwa will hand down her ruling on both the state’s bid to keep Hon. Hwende under prosecution and his lawyers’ challenge of further remand.

Hon. Hwende was arrested on 5 March 2019 and charged with subverting constitutional government as defined in section 22(2)(a)(iii) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly posting some messages on Twitter encouraging members of the public to revolt against President Mnangagwa’s government.

Prosecutors allege that Hon. Hwende posted some messages on Twitter between 28 December 2018 to 31 December 2018, which had the effect of inciting people to revolt against and overthrow President Mnangagwa’s government.

In response to Hon. Hwende’s messages, the state alleged, members of the public committed various acts of public violence and hooliganism throughout Zimbabwe between 14 January 2019 to 16 January 2019 after they were incited to engage in mass protest.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

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