The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has resuscitated the prosecution of Rashid Mahiya, a pro-democracy campaigner and civil society leader, for allegedly plotting to overthrow President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government, in a case which first emerged four years ago.
Mahiya, the former Board Chairperson of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) was summoned by the NPA to stand trial on Wednesday 29 March 2023 at Harare Magistrates Court and answer to charges of subverting constitutional government as defined in section 22(2)(a)(i) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
According to the summons, Mahiya, who is the Executive Director of Heal Zimbabwe Trust (HZT), a local civil society organisation, stands accused of unlawfully conniving with some unidentified accomplices in convening a meeting at Wild Geese Conference Centre in Pomona suburb in Harare between 3 December 2018 to 6 December 2018.
The NPA said deliberations from the meeting were aimed at overthrowing or attempting to overthrow President Mnangagwa’s government by unconstitutional means or usurping the functions of the government or coerce Zimbabwean workers to engage in acts of boycott, civil disobedience or passive resistance to law.
The alleged actions, the NPA said, were meant to subvert a constitutional government.
Before being summoned to stand trial, Mahiya had been removed from remand on 5 November 2021 after his lawyer Tonderai Bhatasara of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, successfully challenged the lengthy prosecution of the pro-democracy campaigner without putting him on trial since he was arrested on Monday 25 February 2019.
Mahiya’s arrest in 2019 came after several pro-democracy campaigners, trade unionists, civil society leaders and opposition legislators were arrested following countrywide anti-government demonstrations, where people protested against a steep hike in fuel prices.