Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume jailed for an effective 3 years in jail following his conviction for inciting public violence in July 2020.

Magistrate Feresi Chakanyuka imposed 48-month prison sentence, but conditionally suspended 12 months

Ngarivhume called for a national protest over a number of issues.

He had been in and out of court since 2020.


In 1999 he set up the first branch of the MDC at the University of Zimbabwe.

He is the founder and chairperson of the Voice for Democracy, a grassroots broad-based civic organisation founded in 2009, whose aim is to fight for justice and democracy.

He was also chairperson of Prayer Network Zimbabwe, an interdenominational Christian organisation founded in 2010 to pray for the total transformation of Zimbabwe.

Arrests: In July 2014, Ngarivhume was arrested under Public Order and Security Act (POSA) for allegedly holding illegal meetings in Harare and Gweru. They were released after being detained for four days.

Allegations leveled against him were that he convened a public meeting on Saturday in the afternoon at a hall in Gweru’s Mkoba Stadium without fulfilling requirements of POSA which requires that organisations intending to hold public gatherings must first seek authority from the police.

However party spokesperson, Sungai Mazando said that the meeting was not a public one but was actually a closed door event where even members of the press were not allowed entry.

“We were having a closed door meeting in Mkoba where we wanted to come up with mechanisms to set up structures in Gweru ahead of our planned congress to scheduled for end year.

“It was a meeting of only top leaders that is why no one was even clothed in party regalia. However, armed police stormed the meeting just when we had just started and arrested the party leader thereby disturbing all the proceedings,” Mazando said.

He said the incident is unfortunate especially in this era of a new constitution which gurantees freedom of assembly and association, themselves key factors in a democratic nation.

Ngarivhume was released and rearrested later in the day along with 13 party supporters who demonstrated outside the Gweru Central Police Station as Ngarivhume was being escorted to court.

He held a similar meeting in Hatfield, Harare and police in Gweru were notified that there was a warrant of arrest was for him.

Transform Zimbabwe lawyer Reginald Chidawanyika confirmed the arrest at the time.

The prosecutor indicated that he would proceed by way of summons since the investigations were incomplete.

On their way back from court he was re-arrested with police indicating he was needed by Hatfield police (in Harare).

Transform Zimbabwe claimed Ngarivhume was forced by police in Nyanga to sign a warned-and-cautioned statement admitting to the charge of addressing an illegal public meeting.

Mazando said Ngarivhume was charged with contravening Section 24(6) of the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) for addressing a church gathering at Holy Cross Church at Mangongondoza Township in Nyanga on June 18 2014.

Ngarivhume was summoned on 2 August 2014, but reported at Nyanga Police Station on 5 August where he was released after allegedly signing a warned-and-cautioned statement “under duress”. Police accused him of turning a church gathering into a political meeting.

2020 Arrest:

On 20 July 2020, Jacob was arrested on charges inciting public violence. In a statement, National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the arrest.

“The Zimbabwe Republic Police confirms that Jacob Ngarivhume of Transform Zimbabwe and Hopewell Chin’ono have been arrested in connection with allegations of contravening Section 187 (1) (a) as read with section 37 (1) (a) (i) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Chapter 9:23, “incitement to participate in public violence,” he said.

Like Hopewell Chin’ono, the opposition politician was detained in the capital, Harare, on Monday in what critics said was a concerted move to stifle criticism of the government.

Campaign group Amnesty accused Zimbabwean authorities of “misusing the criminal justice system to persecute journalists and activists” and said “the arrests of Hopewell Chin’ono and Jacob Ngarivhume are designed to intimidate”.

He was moved from Harare Remand Prison on 7 August 2020 to Chikurubi Maximum Prison by Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) officials.

His lawyers only came to know of the transfer late on Friday 7 August 2020 after they learnt from independent sources that he and Chin’ono had been strip searched, shackled in leg irons and eventually moved at night to Chikurubi Maximum Prison.

This transfer had not been communicated formally to Chin’ono and Ngarivhume’s legal practitioners beforehand. They are being denied access to food and warm clothes as the pair does not eat sadza for medical reasons but the ZPCS officials told them orders from above are what they are following.

In a ruling on an urgent chamber application by ZLHR challenging conditions of detention at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison, the High Court of Zimbabwe gave a ruling in favour of Chin’ono and activist Jacob Ngarivhume, saying the two should be “allowed visits by their lawyers and doctors, and to confer with both in private”.

Since their arrest on July 20, ZPCS authorities have denied the two men unsupervised visits, and the High Court judge granted the application filed by ZLHR challenging the suspension of their section 50 rights as stipulated by Zimbabwe’s Constitution.

ZPCS was ordered to comply with the Constitution which lays out the rights of everyone who is detained. The state of prisons in Zimbabwe has been an issue of public scrutiny due to deteriorating hygiene standards.

Bail Application
Ngarivhume was denied bail after the magistrate on 23 July 2020 said if released, he would continue to promote violent protests and urge the public to break a coronavirus lockdown. Ngarivhume’s lawyer said he would appeal the ruling at the High Court. He would face up to 10 years’ jail if convicted.

On 2 September 2020, Justice Musithu ended the detention of Transform Zimbabwe party leader Jacob Ngarivhume by granting him $50 000 bail, barring him from sharing messages on Twitter, ordering him to report 3 times per week to Zimbabwe Republic Police and also to surrender his passport.

Testimony Before the American Senate
In December of 2017 he was part of the MDC alliance delegation that appeared before a United States Congressional Committee on Foreign Relations in USA to appraise Americans on the situation in Zimbabwe.