The High Court has dismissed incarcerated former Zanu PF Mashonaland Central provincial chairperson Itai Dickson Mafios’ application for bail pending appeal.
Mafios was early this year slapped with a 14-month jail term for inciting people in Bindura to join a wave of anti-government protests.
He was in January this year convicted by Bindura provincial magistrate Vongai Guwuriro, who sentenced him to 24 months in prison, but suspended 10 months on condition of good behaviour.
However, Mafios made an application for bail pending appeal, but Guwuriro dismissed it on the basis that the jailed Zanu PF politician did not have any prospects of success on appeal.
Unsatisfied with the lower court’s decision, he then filed an application for review at the High Court and his matter was determined by Justice Erica Ndewere.
“I have looked high and low for some misdirection by the trial magistrate, I did not find any. He looked at the aspect of prospects of success, and after considering the evidence of the State witness, he was satisfied that, indeed, the appellant (Mafios) had uttered the words referred to in the charge sheet,” the judge said.
“The court also took into account the fact that the appellant was not a first offender, him having been convicted of contravening the Immigration Act by departing the country from an unauthorised exit. That conviction was appropriately used by the State to buttress its opposition to bail, raising the fear that the appellant, if granted bail, may abscond and avoid the appeal hearing.”
It was the State’s case that on January 15 this year, Mafios drove to Chiwaridzo Shopping Centre in Bindura and approached a group of people who were sitting on a shop verandah and urged them to join the violent protests that had rocked the country.
Mafios was quoted as saying: “You are seated and not doing what others are doing in Harare of burning things. Why? Go ahead with the shutdown. (President Emmerson) Mnangagwa took the presidency by force using soldiers.”
The former Zanu PF provincial boss, who was being represented by Bindura lawyer Graciano Manyururei, had denied the charge, citing political persecution.
Mafios made headlines in 2017 after he blasted Mnangagwa at a rally after he skipped Zimbabwe’s border into Mozambique after being fired from both government and Zanu PF party by former President Robert Mugabe. He claimed that Mnangagwa was behind all the illegal mining deals in Zimbabwe and had destroyed the economy through his corrupt deeds.
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