Source: Evan Mawarire’s court appearance deferred | The Herald February 3, 2017
Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
Evan Mawarire — of the shadowy #ThisFlag movement, who was expected in court yesterday, did not show up, with indications that police want to add more charges to the one of subverting a constitutionally-elected Government.
Mawarire was arrested at the Harare International Airport on Wednesday on his return from the United States and is still in police custody.
He seems to have been deserted by his supporters, who were conspicuous by their absence yesterday.
Mawarire unsuccessfully tried to mobilise Zimbabweans to stage street protests, with the aim of removing the constitutionally elected Government of President Mugabe.
After his bid dismally flopped, he sneaked out to the United States, where he tried to mobilise Zimbabweans living there to embarrass President Mugabe during the United Nations General Assembly last year.
His bid failed, as just a handful of his friends heeded the call, but were overwhelmed by the support President Mugabe received from black Americans, especially members of the December 12 Movement, who came out in full force at the UN headquarters.
Sources close to Mawarire’s arrest said the clergyman was facing two charges of subverting a constitutionally-elected Government and contravening the flag law.
Law officers, Messrs Edmore Nyazamba and Tapiwa Kasema from the Prosecutor-General’s Office, waited for Mawarire in court for two hours, ready to proceed with the matter, but the police did not bring him to court.
His lawyer Mr Jeremiah Bhamu told The Herald that Mawarire could not be brought to court as the police sought to put an additional charge of contravening the flag law, which had not been included on indictment.
Mawarire is also being represented by Mr Harrison Nkomo and Advocate Fadzai Mahere.
The penalty for abusing the flag is a fine not exceeding $200 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or both such fine and imprisonment
The manufacture, sale and use of the national flag is governed by the Flag of Zimbabwe Act (Chapter10:10) and regulations made in terms of the Act, namely, the Flag of Zimbabwe (Use and Application of Flag) Regulations, 1987, Statutory Instrument 194 of 1987.
The Act makes it a criminal offence for any person to burn, mutilate, or otherwise insult the national flag or any reproduction thereof, in circumstances, which are calculated or likely to show disrespect for the national flag or to bring it into disrepute.