Sunday Mail Editor Edmund Kudzayi, who is facing charges of subversion and undermining the authority of the President, appeared in leg irons at the Harare Magistrates Court for bail application.
Kudzayi’s new lawyer Mr Admire Rubaya of Rubaya and Chatambudza legal practitioners, who replaced Mr Joseph Mandizha, had to stop court proceedings to make an application for the leg irons to be removed. Kudzayi (28) also appeared in prison garb unlike when he was brought for his initial appearance on Saturday.
“Your Worship, my client is in shackles, therefore, prisons must be directed to remove them before we commence,” said Mr Rubaya.
The magistrate Mr Vakayi Chikwekwe, granted the application and a prison officer who brought Kudzayi to court had to unshackle him while he stood in the dock.
Mr Chikwekwe then refused to hear Kudzayi’s bail application, advising him to apply at the High Court because the charges he faced were serious.
He said he did not have jurisdiction to grant bail on matters involving banditry and insurgency which carry a life sentence upon conviction.
Kudzayi is facing charges of attempting to subvert a constitutionally-elected Government or alternatively attempting to commit an act of insurgency, banditry, sabotage or terrorism.
He is facing two other charges of undermining the authority of the President and contravening the Firearms Act. Kudzayi was remanded in custody to July 7 for routine remand.
Mr Rubaya told The Herald that he was likely to file his application for bail at the High Court today. “I am in the process of preparing the application which I think will be ready for filing at the High Court tomorrow (today),” he said.
Kudzayi is accused of being the brains behind the shadowy Facebook character known as Baba Jukwa, through which he is alleged to have published or communicated false statements prejudicial to the State.
Chief Law officer Mr Tawanda Zvekare from the Prosecutor-General’s Office alleged that in April 2013, Kudzayi hatched a plan with his brother, Philip Kudzayi, to overthrow the Government through unconstitutional means.
It is alleged he created a Gmail account, email@example.com, using a mobile phone line registered in Philip’s name, but used by Kudzayi. The two allegedly formed two separate groups called the Gunda Nleya Brigade and the Zimbabwe Revolutionary Army to overthrow the Government.
He allegedly posted articles on the Baba Jukwa’s Facebook page which encouraged rebellion against Government if the July 31 general election “were stolen”.
They also posted articles to the effect that they had a Dare reChimurenga in place and that a team was on the ground studying the situation in Zimbabwe.
On May 11 this year, the court heard that The Sunday Mail published a story about the true identity of Baba Jukwa titled ‘Hackers unmask Baba Jukwa’.
Investigations, however, revealed that the accused was the one in control of the Baba Jukwa Gmail account as his details were on the recovery panel of the said account, that it was his email address and his brother’s Econet mobile number which he was using.
Investigations revealed that the account was never hacked into, the court heard.
It is the State’s case that Kudzayi allegedly undermined the authority of the President in an article he wrote on August 7 2008.
The Zimbabwe Mail, an Online publication, allegedly published the article with knowledge that the information was false.
In the said article according to the State, Kudzayi went on to “falsely label the President a dictator who commits gross human rights abuses” and further accused him of having stolen the 2008 elections and that he had been presiding over an economic collapse.
He further called the president “a tyrant” and accused him of taking the land from the white farmers and giving it to his associates and not the people of Zimbabwe.
During investigations, police detectives also recovered 13 unsecured rounds of ammunition at Kudzayi’s office and home, the State alleged.