UZ students denied bail; ‘their release is risky’ – rules magistrate

UNIVERSITY of Zimbabwe students arrested on allegations of defacing buildings in Harare CBD in a protest condemning judicial capture and demanding release of political prisoners have been denied bail.

Harare magistrate Learnmore Mapiye denied the four who include, Emmanuel Sitima, 24, Comfort Mpofu, 22, Tawanda Watadza, 24 and Lionel Wadamombe bail on grounds that they are likely to reoffend.

The state had submitted that the students belong to the Black Monday movement , which is “capable of causing more trouble for the State.”

“The buildings which were painted, including the Parliament of Zimbabwe are serious buildings. Violations of state institutions must be protected and releasing the four students is risky,” ruled the magistrate before remanding the quartet to June 21.

According to court papers, on May 14, 2023, the four, together with others who are still at large, went around protesting for the release of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) MP Job Sikhala from pre-trial custody.

It is alleged that the students defaced government buildings in the CBD and spray painted the words “Free Wiwa”, “Free Job Sikhala”.

Prosecutors allege they drew graffiti on the High Court of Zimbabwe building walls, Parliament building, the Methodist Trinity Church building and the Constitutional Court building.

They allegedly did the same at the Harare Civil Court, Runhare House building and Karigamombe building.

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