Responding to the conviction and sentencing of opposition leader, Jacob Ngarivhume, to 48 months imprisonment on charges of inciting public violence for simply exercising his freedom of expression and peaceful assembly which demonstrates a growing crackdown against opposition voices and dissent, Vongai Chikwanda, Amnesty International’s Interim Deputy Director for Southern Africa, said:
It is unthinkable that Jacob Ngarivhume has been sent to prison for exercising his constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.Vongai Chikwanda, Amnesty International's Interim Deputy Director in Southern Africa
“Jacob Ngarivhume faces four years in prison, of which a year is suspended, for organizing and leading a peaceful protest in July 2020 against corruption and denial of socio-economic rights to the people of Zimbabwe. It is unthinkable that Jacob Ngarivhume has been sent to prison for exercising his constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
“Authorities must quash this sentence. Ngarivhume’s sentencing is a cynical ploy to supress dissent and it is an abuse of the justice system to intimidate and harass opposition voices.
Ngarivhume’s conviction and sentencing show a growing crackdown on dissentVongai Chikwanda
“Jacob Ngarivhume’s conviction and sentencing show a growing crackdown on opposition leaders, human rights defenders, activists, journalists and other critical dissenting voices through abuse of the legal system. Authorities must stop weaponizing the law to target opposition figures or anyone who speaks out against corruption.”
Jacob Ngarivhume, the leader of Transform Zimbabwe, an opposition party, was arrested after leading and organising the 31 July 2020 anti-corruption protests. Ngarivhume was convicted by Harare magistrate Feresi Chakanyuka on Thursday, 28 April 2023. He was sentenced on 28 April to 48 months imprisonment, with 12 months suspended.
He will effectively serve 36 months in prison without the option of a fine. He was accused of inciting public violence by using his Twitter handle to convene the 31 July 2020 nationwide anti-corruption protests which were quashed by security forces.