Zimbabwe’s High Court granted bail on Wednesday to a detained opposition politician who had called for anti-government protests in July, over alleged corruption and more than a decade of worst economic crisis.
Jacob Ngarivhume was arrested along with a journalist, Hopewell Chin’ono, on July 20, on charges of inciting violence.
Ngarivhume had called for the protests on July 31 and Chin’ono wrote about the call.
Both men had been denied bail three times, but the high court Judge, Siyabona Musithu, said the politician would be released from detention at a maximum security prison, after paying 50,000 Zimbabwe dollars (600 dollars).
The judge said a lower court had erred in denying Ngarivhume bail.
Another judge will rule on whether to free Chin’ono later on Wednesday.
As part of the bail conditions, Ngarivhume, the leader of a small opposition party, Transform Zimbabwe, was barred from posting on Twitter until his case was finalised.
He must also surrender his passport to the court and report to the police three times a week.
Th activists have used a Twitter hashtag #ZimbabweanLivesMatter to criticise President Emmerson Mnangagwa and encourage global pressure on his government.
When Chin’ono made a routine court appearance on Tuesday, he looked visibly frail and told reporters that he was unwell and doctors had taken a sample from him to test for COVID-19.
The detention of Ngarivhume and Chin’ono and arrest of dozens of activists have led to accusations that the government is persecuting the opposition, a charge the authorities deny.
The opposition has disputed Mnangagwa’s 2018 election, which took place after he replaced ruler Robert Mugabe in a coup, and promised a break from Mugabe’s authoritarian style. (Reuters/NAN)