Renowned writer Tsitsi Dangarembga has tried and failed to get a Zimbabwean court to dismiss charges against her, relating to a public protest two years ago.
Harare magistrate Babra Mateko ruled Thursday that Dangarembgwa has a case to answer since it was not in dispute that she was indeed seen holding placards with inciting material.
Dangarembga was arrested during anti-corruption demonstrations in the capital Harare in July 2020, for carrying placards calling for political reforms.
Her friend Julie Barnes was arrested alongside her, and both women are accused of violating COVID-19 protocols and inciting public violence charges they both deny.
Dangarembga expressed disappointment at Thursday’s ruling outside the courthouse in Harare. The writer spoke to reporters:
The outcome is not the outcome that l had hoped for; l had hoped for a discharge of the case.
Zimbabweans have the right to demonstrate and, if an issue arises and l feel it needs demonstrating, l will surely do it again.
I am a writer which is wonderful and everything that happens to me is a resource for my work.
l am not disappointed that there is more support by the citizens, they are struggling on their daily basis of life.
The two-year-long court case has been marked by delays, including no-shows by the Prosecutor. At one point it was transferred to the Anti-corruption Court.
The Magistrate ruled today that the pair have a case to answer, and should present their defence next Wednesday.
Various groups have called for the charges to be dropped and for an end to the harassment of writers, journalists and other dissenting voices in Zimbabwe.