A British court is now going to try UK based MDC-Alliance activist Martin William Chinyanga on four terrorism charges after he was arrested by British police last year for encouraging people to burn down service stations and businesses in Harare through posts on Facebook.
The 50-year-old science supply teacher was charged on January 13 with four counts of encouraging terrorism.
According to media reports in the UK, Chinyanga appeared before Mr Justice Sweeney at the Old Bailey for a preliminary hearing and his provisional trial date was set for January 10, 2022 with a further preparatory hearing on May 28 this year.
On December 1, 2019, Chinyanga posted a video on his social media profile titled the roadmap to Zimbabwean freedom. In the video, he encouraged people to burn buses, service stations, fuel tankers and buildings to exert “pressure” on the Government. The video was reported to the UK authorities resulting in his arrest.
Chinyanga has had brushes with the law before.
In 2015, he was arrested and detained at London’s Charing Cross Police Station for being part of a group that conducted an illegal demonstration at the Zimbabwe Embassy. According to reports, he was being questioned about trespassing and illegally entering the Zimbabwean Embassy thrice in less than three months. Chinyanga was also detained for resisting arrest when he was picked up by that time.
Following its loss in the 2018 harmonised elections, the MDC Alliance and its partners in the NGOs sector organised violent demonstrations that resulted in the looting of shops, attacks on police stations while cars and some buildings were burnt.