By Mary Taruvinga
TOP journalist Hopewell Chin’ono will remain in remand prison after High Court judge, Tawanda Chitapi Monday reserved judgement until 6 August in case in which the scribe is seeking bail.
Chin’ono is accused of inciting public violence by calling for a protest against the Emmerson Mnangagwa led government.
He was arrested exactly two weeks ago before he was denied bail by magistrate Ngoni Nduna prompting him to file an appeal with the upper court.
The scribe was arrested on the same day with opposition Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume.
Ngarivhume is facing the same and will also know his fate on August 6 after Chitapi reserved his judgement on his appeal.
The nationwide anti-government protest was slated for July 31 2020 but was crushed by state security forces.
Chin’ono has been languishing in prison since his arrest after Harare based magistrate Ngoni Nduna denied him bail on grounds that he was a danger to society.
While appealing for bail, Chin’ono’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said no violence was called for by her client as claimed by prosecutors.
Responding to the State which claimed Chin’ono called for rolling protests starting 31 July until President Emmerson Mnangagwa resigned, Mtetwa said no evidence to such was placed before the magistrate who however went on to uphold the state’s submissions.
“When the IO (investigating officer) was asked what is illegal about the post, he failed to show the court where violence is exhibited in the post.
“He accepted there was no mention of violence or anything that points to incitement. He accepted that a government can be lawfully removed from power without going to elections.
“We all know July 31 has come and gone, there was no violence or breach of peace and nothing based on the evidence of the state happened so there are no reasons for denying the appellant bail,” said Mtetwa.
The lawyer said all this showed the magistrate failed in reaching a decision of denying Chin’ono bail.
Prosecutor Whisper Mabhaudhi stood by the state’s earlier submissions.
He said the reporter is not a proper candidate of bail.
The prosecutor also said the fact that July 31 has come and gone peacefully was a new circumstance and court was not at liberty to entertain it.
“The court aquo did not err. There was no misdirection at all. Fact remains he (Chin’ono) has no respect for Constitutional provisions and this is shown by him calling for government removal without an election,” said Mabhaudhi.
Added the prosecutor, “He mentioned the 31st as the beginning of the protests so the accused hasn’t achieved his role.”