Ngarivhume Bail Blocked
15 June 2023
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Transform Jacob Ngarivhume, the president of Zimbabwe, will continue to pursue his appeal against a public violence conviction and a three-year prison sentence while incarcerated after the High Court denied his request for bail pending appeal.
The lawmaker is contesting his conviction and punishment for inciting public violence after calling for people to use force or take part in an illegal rally in July 2020 via Twitter postings.

He applied for bail awaiting appeal at the High Court, but Justice Benjamin Chikowero denied the request. The judge determined that the appeal against the conviction has no chance of success. Even though Ngarivhume had a chance of winning his case, the judge nevertheless predicted that he would spend a sizable amount of time behind bars.

“This is not a matter where the imposition of bail conditions is decisive,” Justice Chikowero said. “The applicant is likely to be ordered to serve a custodial sentence on appeal.”

In this regard, the judge believed that Ngarivhume’s admission to bail jeopardised the interests of justice since he might jump bail out of dread of being locked up again.

He claimed that it was in the best interests of the legal system for him to pursue his appeal while he was still in prison. Therefore, the request for bail pending an appeal against the verdict and punishment is denied by this statement.

Ngarivhume had posted on Twitter, and the trial magistrate had determined that the posts’ content satisfied the charge’s requirements.

Ngarivhume first admitted to posting the tweets while under arrest, but he later claimed his remarks were protected by the First Amendment’s freedom of speech clause. He had maintained later in court that the Twitter handle was never really his.

Judge Feresi Chakanyuka of Harare decided that the prosecution had established its case against Ngarivhume in her decision.

The court declared that the State had established that Ngarivhume had intended to or actually desired to provoke the public to engage in violent and destructive behaviour through his conduct. She concluded that the only way to effectively deter future violent perpetrators would be through an effective prison sentence.

Because the accused had to be sentenced in line with the law and precedent after being found guilty of inciting members of the public to commit a crime, Mrs. Chakanyuka was led by the country’s criminal laws in making her decision.

The court was informed during the trial that Ngarivhume posted a number of messages on Twitter while in the heart of Harare in an effort to persuade many people to take part in acts of public violence or to attend a gathering that would disturb the peace.

In a few of the messages, Ngarivhume claimed that as part of his attempts to mobilise people, he had met with and consulted with other stakeholders, including Mr. Ian Makone, Dr. Shingi Munyeza, Mr. Elton Mangoma, and Mr. Godfrey Tsenengamu.-state media