HPTO-NMB-080321

State to visit Twitter HQ in Hwende case

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THE State was yesterday given the green light to arrange their travel to Twitter headquarters in Northern Ireland for extra-territorial investigations into MDC secretary-general Chalton Hwende’s case.

Harare magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa made the ruling granting an application for postponement by prosecutor Lancelot Mutsokoti, who had indicated that the State wanted to ascertain if Hwende owns the Twitter account used to post tweets being deemed to be treasonous.

Hwende is being charged with subversion or attempting to overthrow a constitutionally-elected government.

“The accused person has been on remand since March 2019 and every arrested person has a right to be tried within a reasonable period of time, but the court also considers the complexity of the matter,” Mugwagwa ruled.

“The State should not be seen to hide behind that reason, but it is clear to the court that the complexity of this matter now warrants extra territorial investigations to be instituted in this matter and the postponement is justified.”

The matter was postponed to March 18 pending the Northern Ireland journey.

According to the State, Hwende’s Twitter posts allegedly incited the public to overthrow the constitutionally-elected government by engaging in mass protests characterised by violence and hooliganism.

“We can’t continue on this trajectory of failure and kwashiorkor of leadership. Enough is enough? In January, citizens must organise themselves for a complete shutdown of the country. Stay at home, no one will shoot you,” read one of the posts Hwende allegedly sent.

“We voted for @nelsonchamisa and we must be prepared like the thousands of gallant liberation struggle heroes to die defending our right to choose the president of our choice #2019ChamisamuOffice.”

The court heard between January 14 and 16, in response to the Twitter messages, members of the opposition, various trade unionists, pressure groups, youth forums and the general public of Zimbabwe committed various acts of public violence and hooliganism countrywide.

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