Zimbabwe : The High Court orders the release of opposition leader, Jacob Ngarivhume

Zimbabwe’s High Court on Monday quashed the conviction of human rights activist and opposition leader Jacob Ngarivhume, releasing him from the prison in which he had been held since the end of April.

On 28 April 2023, a Harare magistrates’ court had sentenced Jacob Ngarivhume to four years in prison, one year of which was suspended. The authorities had accused him of inciting public violence in a video he posted on X (formerly Twitter) in July 2020, calling for demonstrations against economic conditions and endemic corruption.

Jacob Ngarivhume’s lawyer told the media after the decision was announced that « the High Court agreed with us in every respect »; the conviction by the trial court was « unfounded », and Jacob Ngarivhume had therefore « lost eight months ».

Another opposition figure, former MP Job Sikhala, was arrested on 14 June 2022 and charged with inciting public violence, public disorder and obstruction of justice. Although the High Court found him not guilty of obstruction of justice in November, Sikhala remains incarcerated at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison on the remaining charges. His previous applications for bail have all been rejected.

Keneth Ononga

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