HARARE – Another MDC legislator Charlton Hwende was yesterday remanded in custody after appearing in court on subversion charges.
Hwende’s arrest came immediately after Harare West MDC MP Joana Mamombe was sent to remand prison on Tuesday over the same allegations that the opposition leaders incited Zimbabweans to overthrow President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
He was represented by Harrison Nkomo and advised to apply for bail at the High Court since treason is a third schedule offence whose bail consideration can only be done in the upper courts.
According to Nkomo, police officers that arrested Hwende flagrantly violated his rights.
The court issued an order to investigate the complaints against the arresting details. “My client was arrested while on board flight SW411, Air Namibia, as soon as it touched the ground. His passport was taken away from him by the police officers and technically he has not entered Zimbabwe because he was not given a chance to regularise with Immigration,” Nkomo said.
“I wish to have this on record in case the State might want to charge him with violating the Immigration Act later. He was detained from 10:45 am to 17:30pm without being advised of the reason for his arrest in violation of constitutional provisions.
“The State papers do not disclose any offence and these are issues we shall address the court on the next remand date.”
The matter was remanded to March 20.
Prosecutor Charles Muchemwa alleged that between December 28, and 31, last year Hwende allegedly posted on his Twitter handle messages that could incite people to revolt against the government.
It was alleged that Hwende’s posts encouraged people to engage in mass protests and hooliganism.
According to the State, Hwende wrote that “2019 should be the year of the final push to a new Zimbabwe. We cannot continue on this trajectory of failure and kwashiorkor of leadership. Enough is enough. In January citizens must organise themselves for a complete shutdown of the country.
Stay at home no one will shoot you…2019 is the year of rolling mass action against the illegal regime of @edmnangagwa. We voted for @nelsonchamisa and we must be prepared like the thousands of gallant liberation struggle heroes to die defending our right to choose the president of our choice #2019Chamisamuoffice.”
The court heard that between January 14 and 16, 2019 and in response to Hwende’s exhortations, members of the opposition, various trade unionists, pressure groups, youth forums and members of the public engaged in violent protests across the country.
As a result, property was destroyed, lives were lost, several police officers and members of the public were also injured.