Japajapa Freed On $1 000 Bail

Paddington Japajapa testify before the commissioner on inquiry in Harare yesterday . Picture by Innocent Makawa

JAILED MDC activist, Paddington Japajapa was Friday freed by the High Court on $1 000 bail pending appeal after spending nearly two months at Chikurubi Maximum Prison.

Justice Jacob Manzunzu ruled that the activist had managed to present his arguments well, rendering him fit for bail.

“The accused is hereby ordered to report once every Friday, to reside at his given address and to surrender his passport with the clerk of court until his case is finalised,” said Manzunzu in granting him bail.

Japajapa intends to appeal against both conviction and sentence.

He was jailed for three years in July this year after he was convicted for inciting the public to commit political violence.

This is after he had accused the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) of rigging the 2018 harmonised elections in favour of Zanu PF.

The magistrate who jailed him, Vongai Guuriro Muchuchuti however suspended one year of his sentence leaving him to serve two years effective.

Through his lawyer Gift Mtisi, the activist said Muchuchuti erred in convicting and sentencing him.

He told court that allegations against him arose from a video but no YouTube expert was called to support that it was indeed him and if the video was not edited.

“The video was downloaded from YouTube; the question here is about its authenticity. No expert testified to buttress the allegations. The expert who was called by the State testified as a layman,” said Mtisi.

The lawyer also said chances of success on appeal were very high considering that Japajapa never defaulted trial during prosecution.

“He was on bail during trial and he never defaulted. He is a man of fixed abode and is willing to tender his passport. His passport has no history of him ever leaving the country showing he has no extraterritorial contacts,” said the lawyer.

Prosecutor, Tozivepi Mapfuwa had opposed bail saying he can make his appeal while serving. – Newzimbabwe