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Court quashes charge against novelist

By Desmond Chingarande | NewsDay |

The High Court has quashed a charge against renowned author Tsitsi Dangarembgwa, who was challenging the hearing of her case at the Anti-Corruption Court (ACC).

Zimbabwean novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga, centre, and a colleague Julie Barnes hold placards as they are arrested on July 31, 2020 in Harare. (ZINYANGE AUNTONY/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
Zimbabwean novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga, centre, and a colleague Julie Barnes hold placards as they are arrested on July 31, 2020 in Harare. (ZINYANGE AUNTONY/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Justice Webster Chinamhora, in his ruling on Monday, quashed the charge of violating COVID-19 regulations after finding that it made no sense for the case to be brought before the ACC because it had nothing to do with graft.

Dangarembga, who was charged together with Julie Gabriel Barnes, approached the High Court accusing magistrate Trynos Wutawashe of misdirecting himself by allowing the State to use a non-existent law.

“Whereupon after reading documents filed on record and hearing counsel, it is ordered that the application for review is hereby granted,” Justice Chinamhora ruled.

“The decision of the magistrate in dismissing the application for the invalidation of the second count in ACC 140\20 that is CRB 7024-25/2020 be and is hereby set aside.

“Accordingly, the second charge against the accused in ACC 140-41/20 that is CRB 7024-25/2020 is quashed. There shall be no order as to costs.”

The pair was arrested on July 31, 2020 after police received a tip-off that they were demonstrating at the corner of Whitwell and Borrowdale Roads in Harare. It is alleged the police found the duo demonstrating with placards and this, according to the State, was in contravention of the COVID-19 regulations.

They were charged with intention to incite public violence and breaching COVID-19 regulations and the case was transferred to ACC. The novelist still faces a charge of inciting violence.

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