from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – A ZIMBABWEAN court has annulled and set aside the conviction and jailing of opposition political party leader, Jacob Ngarivhume, for allegedly inciting people to revolt against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration three years ago.
Ngarivhume, the leader of Transform Zimbabwe political party, has been behind bars for three years.
He has been serving an effective three years after he was convicted by Harare Magistrate Feresi Chakanyuka for incitement as defined in the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
During trial, prosecutors alleged that Ngarivhume incited people to revolt against Mnangagwa’s administration during some countrywide anti-government protests in 2020.
In convicting Ngarivhume, Chakanyuka ruled that the opposition political party leader tweeted a message that was inciting and reasonably foreseeing the possibility that the public could be incited by that.
This week, High Court Judges Justice Pisirayi Kwenda and Justice Fatima Maxwell upheld Ngarivhume’s appeal and set aside his conviction and sentence.
Kwenda and Maxwell ruled that Chakanyuka had grossly erred and misdirected herself when she convicted and sentenced Ngarivhume to serve jail time.
Ngarivhume becomes the latest person to be exonerated by the High Court after being arrested and put on trial on charges related to freedom of expression and freedom to petition and demonstrate after former Zengeza West legislator, Job Sikhala, award winning and renowned novelist, filmmaker and cultural activist, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Parere Kanyenzura, the Bishop of Mirirai Jehovha Apostolic Church, and some of his church congregants.
Others are constitutional lawyer and opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change legislator for Mt Pleasant, Advocate Fadzayi Maher, and journalist Hopewell Chin’ono were are arrested and send to prison before being pardoned by the high court.
Mnangagwa’s government is accused of violating the rights of critics and opponents since he assumed power in 2017.
– CAJ News