Political activist and spokesperson of the radical #Tajamuka/Sesijikile pressure group — Promise Mkwananzi — has approached the High Court seeking bail following his arrest on inciting public violence.
Mkwananzi was denied bail when he first appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts after he was nabbed by police following bloody clashes between protesters and the law enforcement agents.
Magistrate Tendai Mahwe denied him bail arguing that he would interfere and intimidate witnesses if he was set free.
Mkwananzi, who is jointly charged with Bruce Usvisvo, is facing charges of inciting public violence using the group #Tajamuka, which reportedly led to the torching of State vehicles during demonstrations last month.
Through his lawyer, Tonderai Bhatasara, Mkwananzi, said that on the day that the vehicles were torched, he was attending a workshop at Sapes Trust in Belgravia, Harare.
He said that the workshop started at 8am and ended at 1pm.
“After lunch, appellant (Mkwananzi) stayed behind and continued with informal discussions with other participants, including . . . Ibbo Mandaza, a renowned academic,” the court heard.
He told the court that he left the venue at 15:30hrs and walked home, while in the company of Makomborero Haruzivishe.
Mkwananzi said he never set his foot in town on the day because he knew that the demonstration was organised by MDC youths under the #MyZimbabwe banner.
He said he is not a member of the MDC or of any political party.
“The police searched his mobile phone without his consent or a warrant and infringed his Constitutional right to privacy,” the court heard.
Usvisvo, a self-confessed vendor, said he is not involved in politics.
He said he was only picked up by the police from his home without being advised of the charges that he was facing.
Usvisvo said on the day in question, commotion broke out when he was in Choppies Supermarket, where he wanted to buy some few items. He said people started throwing stones into the shop, resulting in him bolting out of the shop with the items that he had already paid for.
Usvisvo further said that he lost some of his items as he was escaping from the commotion.
Mkwananzi and Usvisvo argued that Mahwe misdirected himself by denying them bail when he failed to consider the circumstances surrounding the case.
They said the State never substantiated its claims that they will intimidate the security forces.
“ . . . there were no cognisable indications that appellants’ release to bail could endanger the administration of justice. Bail should not have been denied and the decision to contrary effect must be set aside”.
The State accuses the pair for acting in connivance with other accused persons, who are still on the run, to start the protests of August 24