AS TRIAL OVER PROTEST AGAINST TINKERING WITH CONSTITUTION COMMENCES
TWO budding pro-democracy campaigners on Tuesday 1 December 2020
pleaded not guilty to charges of promoting public violence when their
trial commenced before Harare Magistrate Vongai Muchuchutu-Guwuriro.
22 year-old Namatai Kwekweza and 23 year-old Esther Vongai Zimudzi
denied accusations preferred against them of participating in a
gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of peace,
or bigotry as defined in section 37(1)(b) of the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act.
Kwekweza and Zimudzi, who are represented by Tinashe Chinopfukutwa and
Rudo Bere of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, were arrested by
Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers on Friday 19 June 2020 after
they allegedly gathered at the New Government Complex in Harare, where
they intended to hand over a petition to Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Hon. Ziyambi Ziyambi in which they were
protesting against the holding of some public hearings into proposed
amendments to the Constitution.
Prosecutors claimed that Kwekweza, who is a member of WeLead
Organisation for Young People and Zimudzi, who is a member of Section
20 Organisation and are currently out of prison custody on RTGS$3 000
bail each, displayed placards which read; “A senseless charade in the
name of the Constitution Amendment No. 2 Bill public
hearing—–Minister you are out of order”; “!!!#Ngazvitangidzwe!!!”;
“3.3 million Zimbabweans were consulted about the Constitution in
2013, 94.4% voted yes”; “Don’t amend the Constitution until you
consult 3.3 million Zimbabweans”; “#Stop cosmetic Constitutions” and
“Don’t take advantage of COVID-19”.
The prosecutors, who led evidence from one witness Assistant Inspector
Joram Mupona of ZRP, charged that Kwekweza and Zimudzi’s actions were
abusive, insulting and intended to provoke the breach of peace.
The two pro-democracy campaigners return to court on Friday 4 December
2020 for continuation of their trial, where two other State witnesses
namely Constable Austin Muzvuve and Constable Rosemary Mutsure, who
are both members of ZRP will give evidence against Kwekweza and