The Magistrate Courts in Zimbabwe have been accused of playing political games on behalf of those in power against their perceived opponents.

This comes after a number of perceived government critics have allegedly been either denied bail or unfairly jailed by magistrate courts only for the High Court to reverse the act.

Renowned author, Tsitsi Dangarembga recently took a swipe at the magistrate courts for unfairly using the law to satisfy the status quo’s political ends.

This was after the magistrate court convicted her of inciting public violence, a ruling which the High Court overturned.

Political analyst, James Bobo says it is said that the country’s magistrate courts are being used for persecution and not prosecution.

“Zimbabwe has seen a number of magistrate rulings on perceived government critics being overturned by the High Court.

“In most cases, the High Court would conclude that the magistrate courts have erred,” he says.

He says once a perceived government critic is arrested, the magistrate courts play delaying tactics (such as further remand) while the suspects languish in detention.

Bobo says the likes of renowned investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, Fadzayi Mahere, Namatai Kwekeeza, Job Sikhala, among others have suffered this fate at one point or the other.

Reacting to Ngarivhume’s conviction, Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) president Nelson Chamisa said:

“Ngarivhume Jacob’s conviction is a reminder of what’s broken about Zimbabwe. The liberation struggle was about freedom, choice and justice.

“It is ridiculous and scandalous that chambers of justice have been turned into chambers of politics & guillotines of justice.

“The weaponization of the law against critics is a replica of the Rhodesian regime template of oppression. ED has taken us back to Rhodesian oppression.

“It mustn’t be criminal to oppose those who abuse power & authority. Zimbabwe shall be free! We’re fixing all this.Get ready!!

Meanwhile, jailed Transform Zimbabwe (TZ) leader Jacob Ngarivhume has appealed against his conviction and sentence.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) filed the papers on his behalf.

“We have on behalf of Transform Zimbabwe political party leader Jacob Ngarivhume, filed a notice of appeal against both his conviction & sentence.

“Our lawyer Donsa Nkomo together with Professor Lovemore Madhuku argued that Harare Magistrate Feresi Chakanyuka grossly misdirected.

Ngarivhume was recently sentenced to 3 years imprisonment after conviction on allegations of inciting public violence.