BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
HIGH Court judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi has accused the State of lacking commitment towards the case of former Zanu PF youth leader Jim Kunaka whose bail appeal hearing was postponed to today.
The State, led by Richard Chikosha, requested time to ascertain whether Kunaka, who is facing a charge of violating COVID-19 regulations, had paid a fine for a warrant of arrest which was issued against him on another matter pending before the courts.
The State opposed bail on the basis that he was likely to abscond trial since he had been previously issued with a warrant of arrest for failing to attend trial on a case of attempting to subvert a constitutionally elected government.
But Kunaka’s lawyer Munyaradzi Bwanya of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, told the court that his client did not wilfully abscond trial on the said day, but he was suffering from COVID-19, which claimed his son’s life.
It is alleged that Kunaka, in July last year, incited more than 50 people to gather at Africa Unity Square without police clearance during a lockdown.
Prosecutors also allege that Kunaka posted video messages on social media platforms between March 1, 2020 and July 30, 2020 inciting people across the country to participate in the July 31, 2020 demonstrations.
Kunaka was denied bail by magistrate Judith Taruvinga. He has been in detention since his arrest on December 24, 2020.
His bail hearing at the High Court was delayed because his lawyer had challenges in securing the record of proceedings from the Harare Magistrates Court.