Zmbabwe’s award winning investigative journalist and filmmaker, Hopewell Chin’ono, who is being charged with inciting public violence, was Friday denied bail and subsequently remanded in custody to August 7, 2020.
The state was opposing bail on the basis that if granted bail, Chin’ono might temper with evidence as he already did when he attempted to delete his Twitter account, which he allegedly used to incite public violence.
Two state witnesses including Detective Assistant Inspector Edward Petse, testified arguing that if granted bail, Chin’ono is likely to abscond.
In denying the prominent scribe bail, Harare magistrate Nduna said Chin’ono had not yet accomplished his mission of inciting the public to commit acts of violence, breach peace and added that the journalist was a danger to the public.
Nduna said Chin’ono was likely to continue with his activities if granted bail.
Chin’ono was arrested Monday this week in a police blitzkrieg targeting opposition activists understood to be mobilising Zimbabweans to engage in Street protests against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Government.
On the other hand, Ngarivhume was charged for addressing a press conference, inciting people to participate in a demonstration on 31 July 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Harare Magistrate, Trainos Utahwashe, in handing the bail ruling said Ngarivhume is likely to disturb peace as he did not prove how he intends to do a demonstration without people gathering and without violence. He also failed to address the possibility of the spread of COVID-19 during the planned demonstration.
Chin’ono’s legal representation led by prominent lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa indicated that in denying their client bail, the Magistrate stated that he is a danger to the public because he has not yet completed his mission of inciting people to demonstrate on 31 July.
Ngarivhume was also denied bail on Thursday for the same reasons magistrate Ngoni Nduna cited as grounds for turning down Chin’ono’s freedom bid.