‘Mawarire, Mutasa should be tried at the High Court’

A Harare magistrate has heard on Monday that the trial for activists Evan Mawarire and Gift Mutasa was mistakenly set before a magistrate yet the matter because of its nature should be tried by a High Court judge.

The two outspoken activists are facing charges subverting a constitutionally elected government.

Regional magistrate Jessy Kufa will on Tuesday make a ruling on an application for postponement of the matter pending finalisation of investigations.

Through their lawyers, the pair is applying for refusal of further remand indicating that the continuous postponements were an infringement of their constitutional rights.

 Mawarire’s lawyer, Alec Muchadehama opposed the application for further postponement indicating that today had been set as a trial date hence trial had been set and the accused persons were ready and prepared to proceed.

“This is a trial court and its business is to trie matters and not to remand them and the State needs to justify its remand,” said Muchadehama.

Mutasa’s lawyer Tonderai Bhatasara submitted that there are no genuine reasons to justify the application by the State.

“The reason for the postponement given by the State that there was an error in referring this trial to this court definitely proves that the State is in serious trouble because it cannot suggest that no one was aware that such matters are tried before the High Court.”

Prosecuting, Ephraim Zinyandu alleges  that on January 14, Mawarire and Mutasa recorded a video for the Zimbabwean populace’s consumption, which went viral on social media platforms, including YouTube, Twitter, WhatsApp and Facebook, which have worldwide coverage. It is the State’s case that the contents of the video were meant to subvert a constitutional government in that Mawarire was coercing Zimbabwean workers not to report for duty and encouraging civil disobedience or resistance of all law.