#ThisFlag Campaign leader Evan Mawarire (pictured), accused of attempting to overthrow President Mugabe through unconstitutional means, yesterday had his bail conditions relaxed to allow him to travel abroad to meet his family.
Mawarire temporarily got his passport back to allow him to visit his family in the United States from today until April 20. High Court judge Justice Munangati-Manongwa also ordered the relaxation of Mawarire’s reporting conditions from twice weekly to once fortnightly.
The decision followed a successful application by Mr Harrison Nkomo and Mr Garikayi Mhishi of Mhishi Nkomo Legal Practice. The lawyers argued that Mawarire, being a pastor, needed to travel around the country preaching the word to the masses, hence reporting twice a week to the police was costly to him.
It was also submitted that Mawarire left his family in the US two months ago and that he needed to visit them. The court also heard that Mawarire had been complying with the bail conditions since February and that he deserved a relaxation of the bail conditions. During the hearing, the prosecutor Mr Edmore Nyazamba urged the court to dismiss the application.
“The bail conditions imposed by the court are designed to safeguard the interests of justice,” he said. “Relaxing those conditions will only work to defeat the interest of justice. It is submitted that the application should be dismissed.”
Mawarire was arrested at the Harare International Airport in February on his return from the US and subsequently appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court. He was denied bail, but High Court judge Justice Clement Phiri freed him on $300 bail.
It is the State’s case that between July 13 and December last year, Mawarire used the print and electronic media to incite Zimbabweans to revolt against the constitutionally elected Government. He allegedly urged people not to go to work and engage in violent demonstrations.
It is further alleged that on September 15, 2016, Mawarire called on US-based Zimbabweans to converge in New York and confront President Mugabe, who was attending the United Nations General Assembly. He urged people to embarrass President Mugabe and call for his immediate resignation, the State alleged.