July 31 protest leader denied bail
Harare, (New Ziana)-The Harare Magistrates Court on Thursday denied bail to Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume who was arrested on Tuesday on allegations of inciting public violence.
Ngarivhume was remanded in custody to August 6 this year.
Presiding magistrate Tranos Utahwashe said he was convinced by the State assertion that if released on bail, Ngarivhume would organise violent demonstrations.
Ngarivhume has been using social media to incite the public to engage in street protests on July 31 this year ostensibly against corruption.
“It is in the interest of justice that the accused be denied bail,” said Utahwashe.
Defense lawyer Moses Nkomo told the media they would be appealing against the ruling at the High Court.
“The reason why he us being denied bail is that the state fears that if he is released on bail, there are going to be demonstrations.
“The State alleges that he has incited the nation to demonstrate against corruption and they fear if he is given bail, the demonstrations will proceed on the 31st of July,” he said.
“We will be appealing at the High Court in the earliest possible time,” he told reporters.
Michael Reza appeared for the State.
In another courtroom, Ngarivhume’s co-accused journalist-cum political activist Hopewell Chin’ono was also fighting for bail.
Ngarivhume and Chin’ono are at the centre of plans by the opposition and some civic groups to hold street protests on July 31 as part of a grand scheme to remove a constitutional government.
Authorities are also concerned that the planned demonstrations would put the lives of people at risk as there are no guarantees that protesters would observe the social distancing requirements.
Zimbabwe has been experiencing a spike in Covid-19 cases recently amid concerns that local transmissions were overtaking imported ones and the origins of the majority of them have not been identified.