Treason accused ex-Zanu PF youth leader’s freedom bid flops

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By Mary Taruvinga

FORMER Zanu PF youth activist, Jim Kunaka, who is up on treason charges, was Monday sent to remand prison after his court bid to trash the charges flopped.

Kunaka is facing charges of subverting a constitutional government after he allegedly posted messages on his social media platforms inciting the public to take part in last week’s nationwide job stay away.

He was initially brought to court on Saturday and appeared before Harare magistrate Francis Mapfumo challenging placement on ruling.

But the magistrate dismissed the application saying there was reasonable suspicion that he committed a crime.

Court also heard that Kunaka physically participated in the violent protests.

“It is not in dispute that there are social media accounts bearing the name of the accused person. One or more of those accounts were used to circulate the information as per the Form 242,” Mapfumo said.

It was his argument that prosecutors did not state how he committed the offence.

Through his lawyer, Arnold Taruvinga, Kunaka said the state did not provide enough information to satisfy the alleged subversion charge.

Kunaka said the State failed to identify the Facebook and Twitter accounts he allegedly used as there were 11 social media accounts registered in his name.

It is state’s case that on an unknown date, the former Zanu PF Harare youth chair urged the overthrow of a constitutionally elected government by calling on Zimbabweans to engage in various acts of public violence.

Court heard that Kunaka encouraged citizens to join hands with various trade unions and pressure groups to resort to protests to shut down the country.

It is also alleged that to his ambitions of overthrowing the government, Kunaka further joined other demonstrators in Harare.

Prosecutor Shepherd Makonde said members of the public heeded Kunaka’s call and committed public violence and hooliganism countrywide.

“Lives were lost, multitudes were injured, several police stations were attacked and police officers injured while police vehicles were damaged or burnt,” said Makonde.

The government says three people died during the protests but local NGOs place the death toll at 12.

Kunaka will be back in court on January 31.