Journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, who is being charged with inciting public violence, has been denied bail for the third time, with Harare magistrate Ngoni Nduna saying his release from remand prison could cause the unconstitutional removal of Zanu PF from power.
Nduna ruled that the changed circumstances that Chin’ono submitted were not convincing as the submissions were the same as in the previous bail attempt.
The magistrate further ruled that it was illegal for the lower court to review its initial findings on the dismissal of the
“Even if the court found it out that there are new circumstances, it is not a guarantee that this court will grant bail because there are other fears that have been submitted. The court took judicial notice that the coronavirus pandemic is dangerous as it was publicised since November 2019 and it is not correct to say prison conditions are part of the new circumstances,” Nduna said.
“The court also agrees to the State’s proposition that the accused person wants Zanu PF to fall and the bail application on the changed circumstances is hereby dismissed.”
The State, however, asked for the court to postpone the matter to September 1 for a possible furnishing of a trial date.
Chin’ono’s bail applications have been met with drama with the court barring renowned human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa from representing him saying she had scandalised the court by allegedly posting a Facebook message denigrating the court.
The investigative journalist was also barred from giving evidence in front of the media and public saying this would compromise prison security.
He had disclosed to Mtetwa that he was being abused inside prison, denied access to food from outside and was now living on biscuits.
Chin’ono was arrested on July 20 together with opposition Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume and are both facing charges of incitement to participate in public violence.
After the dismissal of bail for the duo, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights executive director Roslyn Hanzi said they will soon sit down and re-strategise before approaching the courts.
She said the ban on Mtetwa to represent her client had no effect on her visiting the prison to consult Chin’ono, but the prison officials were denying her the right to consult her client.