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Rights Lawyers End 62-Day Incarceration for UZ Student

After 62 days in pretrial detention, one of the six University of Zimbabwe students, Darlington Chigwena, who was arrested for participating in a peaceful protest in Harare, has been granted bail by the High Court.

Chigwena, along with four other UZ students, was arrested for staging a protest to demand the release of opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) lawmaker, Job Sikhala, and to speak out against the “weaponisation” of the law against government critics.

Facing charges of criminal nuisance and malicious damage to property, Chigwena was accused of defacing several buildings during the demonstration. The protest aimed at condemning judicial capture and calling for the release of political prisoners, including Sikhala and Transform Zimbabwe party leader Jacob Ngarivhume.


Representing Chigwena in court were Paidamoyo Saurombe and Tinashe Chinopfukutwa from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).

According to the state, on May 14, 2023, Chigwena and the four other students, along with unidentified individuals, protested for the release of CCC lawmaker Job Sikhala from pre-trial custody. During the demonstration, government buildings in the CBD were defaced, with graffiti reading “Free Wiwa” and “Free Job Sikhala” sprayed on the walls of the High Court of Zimbabwe building, Parliament building, the Methodist Trinity Church building, and the Constitutional Court building. Similar acts were allegedly carried out at the Harare Civil Court, Runhare House building, and Karigamombe building.

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The other five individuals involved in the protest are Benjamin Watadza, Emmanuel Chitima, Comfort Mpofu, Lionel Madamombe, and Gamuchirai Chaburumunda. Their trials are yet to take place.

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Journalist based in Harare

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