Jacob Ngarivhume Sentenced To Four Years In Jail5 months ago
Former MDC Alliance principal Jacob Ngarivhume was on Friday sentenced to four years in jail following his conviction the previous day of public violence incitement charges.
The charges emanated from a July 2020 tweet in which Ngarivhume, who is also Transform Zimbabwe leader, called for a national shutdown in protest over poor leadership by the ZANU PF-led government.
Ngarivhume was convicted by Harare magistrate Feresi Chakanyuka after a full trial that lasted almost three years.
He was on Friday sentenced to 48 months imprisonment, with 12 months conditionally set aside. This means he will serve an effective three years in jail.
During the trial, Ngarivhume denied the accusations arguing that the Twitter handle allegedly used as the bases of his prosecution did not belong to him.
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Even after his conviction on Thursday, Ngarivhume still maintained his innocence. He said:
It’s unfortunate that they chose to convict me on an offence I did not commit.
It is like they are punishing me for being a politician. The State failed to prove that I own the alleged Twitter account and I told them it was not mine.
I do own a Twitter handle and I directed them to it, but they insisted that it was me without proof.
Outspoken journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, who was also arrested in 2020 for alleged incitement to public violence but was acquitted by the High Court, said the Government has scored an own goal in convicting Ngarivhume. Said Chin’ono:
Citizens remain calm. The regime is tying itself in knots and exposing itself to the world for what it is.
It might not care, but with time you will realize why this pain is necessary to achieve freedom.
I lived in prison with Jacob Ngarivhume, he will cope, and he was prepared for this the same way Job Sikhala is prepared for convictions.
What scares us is not prisons, weak people are scared of prisons.
What scares us is our determination to achieve freedom for all, and freedom will be achieved!
You can jail people, but you can never jail an idea!
Jailing someone because they called for a demonstration against corruption gives the answer that the world has been waiting for.
We are under a brutal regime that survives through corruption, so anyone who threatens its corrupt ways becomes an enemy and is thrown in prison.
Mandela stayed in prison for 27 years, and Mugabe stayed there for 11 years, prison doesn’t scare us.
It shows how the regime has run out of ideas, even Mugabe at his worst never behaves in this laughable manner.
So citizens remain calm, time and the world is on your side.
Incitement to public violence is defined as the act of urging, encouraging, or advocating for the use of violence by members of the public against other individuals or groups. The offense carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
The Government has been accused of using the charge of incitement to public violence to suppress dissent and opposition.
Several political activists, journalists, and other individuals who speak out against ZANU PF or its policies have been arrested and charged with incitement to public violence.
More: Pindula News