Court frees Bulawayo activist charged for pro-Chin’ono demo

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

A Bulawayo magistrate Tuesday acquitted a city pro-democracy campaigner, Muzingaye Thaka who faced charges of inciting public violence.

This follows Thaka’s arrest on 30 July 2020 for allegedly embarking on a one-man protest against the arrest and detention of freelance journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and Transform Zimbabwe political party leader Jacob Ngarivhume.

Magistrate Shepherd Munjanja acquitted Muzingaye at the close of the prosecution case.

This was after his lawyer, Lison Ncube from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights applied for discharge, arguing that the 22-year-old activist had not committed an offence warranting his trial.

The magistrate ruled that prosecutors failed to prove the offence during trial.

He said the police officers who arrested him were overzealous and acted prematurely in apprehending him.

Thaka was arrested on 30 July 2020 and charged with inciting public violence as defined in Section 36 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly public violence.

According to prosecutors, the activist displayed a placard written, “Free Hopewell and Jacob, journalism is not a crime, (kasifuni bumbulu, sesidiniwe, we are tired we deserve better. Stop corruption. We want better. Stop police brutality, we want better. Respect the Constitution. We want a living wage, free Zimbabwe.”

Several people including opposition activists and artists were arrested on similar charges during the abortive July anti-government protests.