Five Rights Activists In Court On Treason Charges
Five members from different civil organizations appeared in court facing treason charges as the government engages the alert gear following rumors of national citizen demonstration due to price hikes.
The arrest of the five accused persons came shortly after a story was ran by a state owned newspaper that there are citizens being trained abroad with the intention to overthrow the government.
The state is alleging that the accused are members of the civil society organizations who connived with their accomplices that are still at large and went to Maldives where they underwent a training workshop by a Serbian non-governmental organisation called Center for Applied Non-Violent Action Strategies(Canvas) with intend to subvert a constitutionally elected government.
The five, Citizen Manifesto coordinator Tatenda Mombeyarara, Centre for Community Development advocacy officer George Makoni, Transparency International Zimbabwe’s Nyasha Frank Mpahlo, Community Tolerance and Development Trust director Gamuchirai Mukura and Farai Gumbonzvanda appeared before regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya for trying to overthrow the ruling ZANU PF.
“The accused persons were trained on how to mobilize citizens to turn against the government, engage in acts of civil disobedience and resistance to any law during the anticipated national protests by any government movements,” said the State.
“The accused also trained on how to operate small arms and to evade arrest during civil unrest and counter intelligence and acts of terrorism,” the court heard.
The State is also of the case that on May 20, the accused were arrested and intercepted upon arrival at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International airport whilst coming back from Maldives.
“Their personal computers and cellphones which contained subversive material were recovered from the accused persons and were sent to Postal Telecommunications and Regulatory Authority, (POTRAZ) for extraction of evidence and can be produced as evidence.
“Notes from the workshop conducted by the accused persons were also recovered,” alleges the State.
The arrest came after a series of arrest of citizens and members of the opposition parties during the January stay away which was triggered by fuel price hikes announced by President Emerson Mnangagwa.
Meanwhile, fuel price recently shot up from $3.35 to $4.97 per liter and also other basic commodities.