Zimbabwean protest leader freed on bail

Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume gestures as he addresses a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance launch rally at White City Stadium in Bulawayo on September 2, 2017. (Photo by ZINYANGE AUNTONY / AFP)
Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume gestures as he addresses a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance launch rally at White City Stadium in Bulawayo on September 2, 2017. (Photo by ZINYANGE AUNTONY / AFP)

Zimbabwean opposition politician Jacob Ngarivhume was granted bail on Wednesday since being detained on July 20 for calling protests against corruption and the country’s economic crisis.

High Court judge Siyabona Musithu granted his appeal against the ruling of a lower court that had denied him bail and said “the magistrate erred.”

The leader of Transform Zimbabwe had been charged with inciting public violence and was ordered to pay 50,000 Zimbabwe dollars ($602), as well as surrender his passport and report to the police three times a week.

He was arrested alongside investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, who remains in prison on similar charges.

Chin’ono, who had tweeted his support for the protests, is also expecting a verdict on a bail application on Wednesday.

The protests had been planned for July 31, the second anniversary of a general election won by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, however, the protests were subsequently banned on the grounds of coronavirus restrictions.

Ngarivhume and Chin’ono are among a number of government critics and opposition activists arrested in recent months for voicing concern about the country’s mounting problems.