Hopewell Chin’ono, Ngarivhume in fresh freedom bid

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Harare (New Ziana) – Detained political activists Hopewell Chino’no and Jacob Ngarivhume rekindled their bid for freedom on Thursday with a bail application at the High Court, three days after a similar attempt failed at the Harare magistrates court.

The two were arrested last month on charges of inciting public violence after allegedly posting social media messages encouraging people to take part in banned protests against the government.

The protests, the latest in a series called by the opposition and allied civic groups, were penciled for July 31, but flopped dismally nationwide, leaving egg on the faces of the organisers.

Thursday’s bail application is the duo’s fourth attempt for freedom – twice at the magistrates court and once at the High Court – all in vain so far.

In the latest case, the two are arguing changed circumstances in that the date for the protests for which they are being accused of inciting people to take part in had now past.

In the circumstances, they argue that keeping them locked up was now unnecessary from a security point, which was the primary concern of the State before July 31.

But the magistrate court, in dismissing the bail application on these grounds earlier in the week, said opposition plans for protests were not time bound but ongoing.

The duo, therefore, still posed a security threat, it ruled.

Lawyer for the defendants, Moses Mtisi said the High Court had postponed the hearing to Friday.

“We came before Justice Musitu intending to make the appeal on the bail application. However, the State managed to file its response today (Thursday) while we were already in court. State requested for the matter to be rolled over to tomorrow (Friday) for arguments,” he said.

New Ziana