Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume freed

By Tapiwa Svondo

Opposition leader and firebrand activist Jacob Ngarivhume has been freed from imprisonment, six months into a widely condemned four-year jail term imposed in Harare April this year for allegedly inciting violence.

The Transform Zimbabwe leader was acquitted on appeal by High Court judges Pisirayi Kwenda and Fatima Maxwell.

He was serving an effective 3-year jail sentence for inciting violence through his Twitter handle.

Judges said there was no evidence produced in court to prove Ngarivhume owned the Twitter account used as the basis for his conviction and imprisonment.

“The State did not lead any evidence to prove. It is clear from the record that the State knew they should produce evidence. 

“The police knew there was need to link the accused to the words. They knew the procedure to be followed and they did not do that. 

“We do not know why they did not follow through but what we know is that the State did not prove.

“We were asked to examine the evidence and there was evidence which links to the accused. It would not be right to uphold the conviction. In the result, the appeal is allowed. And the conviction is quashed,” said Kwenda.

Ngarivhume lawyer Lovemore Madhuku addressed journalists after the court and said the state wasted eight 8 months of the politician’s time.

“As we speak, he is now a very free man, they are going the normal procedure of releasing him. 

“They agreed with us even in respect that the magistrates court did not have a basis at all so he had his 8 months wasted,” Madhuku said.

Ngarivhume was jailed four years, of which a year is suspended, for organising and leading a peaceful protest in July 2020 against corruption and denial of socio-economic rights to the people of Zimbabwe.

He was sentenced by Harare magistrate Feresi Chakanyuka on 28 April 2023.

His imprisonment in a country where politically connected corrupt individuals and cartels walk free was condemned as a brazen abuse of power by the Zanu PF led authority.

Ngarivhume, together with former CCC legislator Job Sikhala – still in prison – has been widely regarded as a political prisoner in the clutches of Emmerson Mnangagwa’s tough rule.

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