NGO boss ‘shocked’ as Prosecuting authority summons him after ‘resurrecting’ 2019 protest incitement case

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By Alois Vinga

THE National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has summoned Heal Zimbabwe executive director, Rashid Mahiya, to appear in court and answer charges of masterminding a demonstration which took place almost half a decade ago.

The former chairperson of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC), Mahiya was fingered in the planning of violent disturbances that rocked the country between January 14 to 16 fronted by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) alongside other civil society organisations.

Investigations by authorities alleged that the Civil Society leader played an instrumental role in organising the demonstrations through systemic workshops which also hosted foreign nationals that were key in coordinating and funding the upheaval.

Authorities believe that during a workshop held between 3 to 7 December 2018, Mahiya and a committee member, Pride Mukono mobilised violent demonstrators in a workshop held under the theme: ‘The Crisis of Legitimacy in Zimbabwe’.

In 2019, Mahiya handed himself over to the police and was placed on remand before the case was dropped two years ago.

However, the latest summons issued by the NPA this week shows that Mahiya still has a case to answer.

“The accused is facing charges which include subverting a constitutional government as defined in section 22 (2)a(i) of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act Chapter 9:23,” reads the document.

“In that during the period extending from 3 December 2018 to 6 December 2018 and at Wild Geese Conference Centre, Pomona, Harare, Rashid Stuart Mahiya unlawfully, with the intent to overthrow government of Zimbabwe by unconstitutional means or usurping the functions of government or coerce the workers to engage in acts of boycott, civil disobedience or passive resistance to law, realising that there was a risk or possibility that their actions might subvert a constitutional government of Zimbabwe.”

Contacted for comment on the latest development, Mahiya expressed shock and said he awaits to find out new evidence if any on the case.

“I was removed from remand two years ago over the same case and now I wait to establish any new evidence which the state will bring forth,” he said.

“However, I highly suspect that the latest move is a ploy to intimidate,  from carrying out the constitutionally mandated task of raising citizens awareness on rights issues especially ahead of elections.”