Activist back in dock for plotting Zimbabwe ‘coup’


Rashid Mahiya

from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe Bureau
HARARE, (CAJ News) – ZIMBABWEAN authorities have reopened the prosecution of a four-year-old case against a pro-democracy campaigner and civil society leader accused of plotting to overthrow President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has summoned Rashid Mahiya, the former board chairperson of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) to stand trial on March 29 at the Harare Magistrates Court and answer to charges of subverting constitutional government as defined in the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

According to the summons, Mahiya, now the Executive Director of Heal Zimbabwe Trust (HZT), a local civil society organisation, stands accused of unlawfully conniving with some unidentified accomplices in convening a meeting at a conference centre in the capital city Harare between December 3, 2018 to December 6, 2018.

The NPA said deliberations from the meeting were aimed at “overthrowing or attempting to overthrow Mnangagwa’s government by unconstitutional means or usurping the functions of the government or coerce Zimbabwean workers to engage in acts of boycott, civil disobedience or passive resistance to law.”

The alleged actions, the NPA said, were meant to subvert a constitutional government.

Before being summoned to stand trial, Mahiya had been removed from remand in November 2021 after his lawyer, Tonderai Bhatasara, of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, challenged the lengthy prosecution of the pro-democracy campaigner without putting him on trial since he was arrested in February 2019.

Mahiya’s arrest came after several pro-democracy campaigners, trade unionists, civil society leaders and opposition legislators were arrested following countrywide anti-government demonstrations, where people protested against a steep hike in fuel prices.

Mnangagwa’s government is accused of harassing the opposition and critics ahead of elections scheduled for later this year.

Mnangagwa has been in power since 2017 after Robert Mugabe resigned amid pressure from his ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the military.

– CAJ News




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