The Harare magistrates court on Friday denied bail to journalist turned political activist Hopewell Chin’ono who was arrested on Tuesday on allegations of inciting public violence.
Magistrate Ngoni Nduna remanded Chin’ono in custody to August 7 this year.
Nduna said Chin’ono would not be granted bail because he is a danger to the public and will violate the law.
Chin’ono’s lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa was not happy with the court’s decision to deny the activist bail.
She said an appeal would be made to the High Court.
“He has been denied bail on the basis that he is a danger to the public and that if he is released he will continue advocating for violent protests. Where that comes from, we do not know because none of the those tweets referred to violent protests. But there is nothing unusual about the judgement. We would have been extremely surprised if the magistrate had granted him bail. Because as you will see, the trend is that magistrates no longer give bail to certain type of persons and that invariably they only get bail from the High Court. So there are no surprises for us there. That’s what we mean when we say justice delivery has been severely compromised.
“We will naturally be appealing to the High Court although we were told that the ruling is ready, unfortunately, it has not been made available and we have been told that we can get it tomorrow. But definitely we are appealing to the High Court,” said Mtetwa.
A freelance journalist, Chin’ono has been using social media to incite the public to engage in street protests on July 31 this year ostensibly against corruption.
Chin’ono and leader of an obscure political party, Transform Zimbabwe, Jacob Ngarivhume are at the centre of plans by the opposition and some civic groups to hold street protests on July 31 as part of a grand scheme to remove a constitutional government.
Ngarivhume was on Thursday denied bail and remanded in custody to August 6.
Authorities are also concerned that the planned demonstrations would put the lives of people at risk as there are no guarantees that protesters would observe the social distancing requirements.
Zimbabwe has been experiencing a spike in Covid-19 cases recently amid concerns that local transmissions were overtaking imported ones and the origins of the majority of them have not been identified.