MDC MP Hwende in court for subversion, to stay behind bars

Kuwadzana East MP Chalton Hwende (second left) being sworn into Parliament. (Picture by Brighton Chihwayi – Photo Phactory Zimbabwe)

MDC MP for Kuwadzana Charlton Hwende was Wednesday hauled before Harare magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa facing charges of subverting a constitutional government.

He was seized by detectives from the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport just as he arrived from Namibia.

The outspoken legislator is the second MDC MP to be arrested in just under a week over offences related to incitement of wild citizen protests that rocked Harare, Bulawayo and parts of the country January this year.

Hwende was ordered to apply for bail at the High Court as he is facing a serious offence.

Prosecutors allege the MP, during the period extending from 28 December 2018 to 31 December 2018, posted on his twitter handle, messages that had the effect of inciting citizens to revolt against government.

His lawyer Harrison Nkomo complained that the MP’s rights were violated when he got arrested.

“The accused was arrested whilst aboard a Namibian Airways plane as soon as it landed. Technically, the accused has not entered Zimbabwe because he was even denied a chance to have his passport stamped,” Nkomo argued.

“Men and women claiming to be Zimbabwe Republic Police officers simply grabbed his passport and it’s not known whether they had it stamped or not…in case the state may want to charge him for contravening the Immigration Act. May this be put on record.”

Nkomo also complained that Hwende was not informed of his charge upon arrest.

He said the MP was detained from 10:45am to 5 pm without charge.

“The charge was involuntarily put to him after the defence insisted,” he said.

Nkomo said he would challenge Hwende’s remand placement on the latter’s next court appearance.

The case was postponed to March 20 for routine remand.