Mkwananzi to remain behind bars

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By Mary Taruvinga

Tajamuka/Sesijikile pressure group leader Promise Mkhwananzi arrested on charges of attempting to overthrow President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government will remain behind bars after a Harare Magistrate Learnmore Mapiye advised him to seek bail at the High Court.

Mkwananzi who is spending his third night in custody this Friday allegedly committed the offence after he called for the foiled national shutdown which was scheduled for July 1 to 5.

The former MDC youth secretary general allegedly called a press conference where he called for indefinite strikes until Mnangagwa resigns or convened an inclusive dialogue under the auspices of an independent and international mediator.

The activist appeared before Magistrate Mapiye also facing a charge of incitement to public violence.

Through his lawyer Tonderai Bhatasara of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), Mkhwananzi said he is aware he is facing a third schedule offence and will seek bail at the High Court.

According to the State, on a date unknown to the prosecutor but sometime between June 1 and June 30 and in Harare, Mkhwananzi organised a press conference where he urged the public to overthrow the constitutionally elected government of Zimbabwe through violent means.

During the said press conference, Mkhwananzi allegedly said: “We are calling for a shutdown of Zimbabwe commencing on July 1 to July 5 2019. During that period, we expect Mnangagwa to address the nation and do something about the rampaging political crisis and untold economic hardships facing the generality of our people.

“Mnangagwa has two choices before him; to resign and allow Zimbabwe to move forward or to convene an all-inclusive national dialogue under the auspices of an independent and international mediator.”

Through his utterances, the State alleges Mkhwananzi “urged, advocated or suggested for the overthrow or attempt to overthrow the government of Zimbabwe through unconstitutional means.”

On the second count of incitement to commit public violence, the State alleges that during June 1 and June 30, and at the same press conference, Mkhwananzi encouraged members of the public to engage in acts of public violence against the State.

“If President Mnangagwa refuses to yield to these demands, on July 6 2019, the people of Zimbabwe will be left with no choice but to come out of their homes and march to the State House in Harare. For other cities, we will be updating you of where people will convene,” he allegedly said.

The State said his utterances had the potential of inciting the people of Zimbabwe to commit public disorder.

On the third count, the State alleges that Mkhwananzi and at the same conference, Mkhwananzi urged the public to overthrow the government saying the strike was going to be indefinite until Mnangagwa resigns together with his “entire criminal cabal.”

The State is represented by Tinashe Makiya, Michael Reza, Jonathan Murombedzi, and Charles Muchemwa.