#ThisFlag Movement founder Pastor Evan Mawarire yesterday took the State to task after it failed to honour its promise to provide him a trial date and demanded the scrapping of all bail conditions or removal from the remand.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Mawarire’s demands came after the State asked the court to postpone the matter, in which he is facing charges of subversion, to April 21, saying the docket has been sent to the Prosecutor-General’s Office for perusal.
The cleric’s lawyer Harrison Nkomo demanded the court to variate the bail conditions to allow his client to carry out his day-to-day business.
Nkomo told the court that the State was prejudicing and frustrating his client before the trial, arguing he should be given the chance to live a normal life before trial.
He further told the court that due to the State’s delay in providing a trial date, his client was incurring costs of hiring lawyers in this harsh economic environment.
Nkomo also urged the court to remove Mawarire from remand, saying the State indicated during his initial remand that investigations would be completed by February 28. He argued that up to now, the State had not revealed its witnesses.
However, the State, represented by Sebastian Mutizirwa, opposed the application, saying Mawarire should approach the High Court for variation of his bail condition as the magistrate’s court has no jurisdiction over his bail.
Mutizirwa also argued that Mawarire cannot complain over the State’s delay in providing the trial date as he had been on remand for only a month.
Magistrate Barbara Chimboza was expected to rule on the application late yesterday.
According to the State, during the period extending from July 13 to December last year, Mawarire, who is the founder of #This flag Movement and senior pastor at His Generation Church, went to print and electronic media inciting the Zimbabwean populace to revolt against the constitutionally-elected government of Zimbabwe.
The State alleges Mawarire urged all Zimbabweans not to go to work and to shut down the country. The State further alleges people took heed of his calls and engaged in violent demonstrations resulting in the stoning of cars, blocking of roads and damaging of property.
Mawarire allegedly went on social media thanking Zimbabweans particularly the youths who had responded to his call for the demonstration. He allegedly encouraged the populace to prepare and participate actively in other demonstrations.
The State alleges that despite warnings, Mawarire continued circulating videos on social media platforms inciting Zimbabweans to stage demonstrations.
On September 15 last year, Mawarire allegedly through social media further called on Zimbabweans in the United States of America and all over the world to converge in New York to confront President Robert Mugabe, who was attending the United Nations General Assembly.
The State alleges Mawarire’s actions were meant to embarrass Mugabe on the world front.
It is the State’s case that Mawarire should have foreseen that there was a real risk or possibility that his actions might lead to the violent demonstrations that took place in Zimbabwe as a result.