Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
Self-proclaimed pastor Evan Mawarire of the shadowy #ThisFlag campaign yesterday approached the High Court with an application to be released on bail, pending trial. The matter will be heard today at 9am in the bail court. Mawarire, who is facing allegations of subverting a constitutionally-elected Government or alternatively inciting public violence, appeared before a Harare magistrate on Friday.
He was remanded in custody to February 17 after unsuccessfully challenging placement on remand. A magistrate advised him to apply for bail at the High Court. Messrs Harrison Nkomo and Jeremiah Bhamu, represented Mawarire.
Yesterday Mawarire’s lawyers filed a bail application at the High Court. In the bail application filed by Mhishi, Nkomo Legal Practitioners, Mawarire proposed to be released on $100 bail.
He offered to surrender his passport and to report to the police weekly until finalisation of his criminal case. He argued in the application that he was a proper candidate to be released on bail.
Mawarire’s lawyers argued that the State’s case was weak and that there was no basis for their client’s continued stay in remand prison. The lawyers argued that Mawarire had travelled to several countries, but because he is prepared to stand trial, he returned to Zimbabwe.
“It must be emphasised that he had knowledge, good and valid grounds to stay permanently in any of the countries he visited if he wished, but he did not. “This is consistent with a person who is ready and willing to stand trial,” reads the bail application.
The lawyers argued that the State was aware that its case was weak. “Even the State is aware that its case is hopelessly weak and they have resorted to persecution in a vain attempt to break his spirit and discourage him from exercising his constitutionally guaranteed rights.”
It is the State’s case that between July 13 and December last year, Mawarire went to print and electronic media inciting Zimbabweans to revolt against the constitutionally-elected Government.
He allegedly urged people not to go to work, and they took heed and engaged in violent demonstrations. It is alleged that he continued circulating videos on social media platforms inciting people to stage demonstrations.
It is further alleged that on September 15, 2016 Mawarire further called for Zimbabweans in America and all over the world to converge in New York and confront President Mugabe, who was attending the United Nations General Assembly. Mawarire urged people to embarrass President Mugabe and call for his immediate resignation, the State alleged.