Chin’ono bail ruling reserved

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A Harare magistrate on Friday reserved judgement in the case of one of the alleged organisers of the planned July 31 street protests, Hopewell Chin’ono, to allow him time to write it.

A freelance journalist, Chin’ono and Jacob Ngarivhume of an obscure political outfit called Transform Zimbabwe, who were both arrested on Tuesday, are being accused of inciting the public through social media to participate in illegal demonstrations on July 31.

Authorities also fear that the demonstrations would put the public at risk of contracting or passing COVID-19 as there are no guarantees that protesters would observe social distancing.

Zimbabwe, like most other countries around the world, is under a nationwide lockdown to try and limit the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic which has killed hundreds of thousands and infected millions globally.

Defense lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa said the court would let them know when the judgement was ready.

“He says he needs time to write his judgement. We will be told anytime. If it’s today they will come back to us but our view from what we could work out it will probably be tomorrow (Saturday),” she said.

Magistrate Ngoni Nduna presided over the case.

Chin’ono’s co-accused, Ngarivhume was on Thursday denied bail by a Harare magistrate and remanded in custody to August 6 this year.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday set stricter lockdown rules and imposed a 12-hour dusk to dawn curfew which began on Wednesday.

Confirmed cases of Covid-19 have been rising sharply in the past month, particularly local transmissions, with new cases averaging 100 a day.

As of Friday, the country had recorded 2 124 cases, with 28 deaths.

In view of the rising cases of the pandemic, the government has re-instituted the ban on all social, religious and political gatherings.

But the opposition and some civic society groups, under the guise of protesting against corruption in the country, plan to hold month end anti-government marches.

New Ziana

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