American Citizen Martha O’Donovan’s Bail Hearing Postponed To Thursday

William Chui Avatar
High Court of Zimbabwe

The bail hearing of Martha O’Donovan, the United States of America citizen has been postponed to Thursday 9 November 2017, after the State applied for the postponement due to them “not being ready”. The matter is in the case of State vs Martha O’Donovan, where she is being charged with “Subverting a constitutional government through Masterminding a social media campaign to overthrow the government by unconstitutional means” and “undermining the authority of and insulting the authority of the President”.

This put it at 6 nights that she will be behind bars, as the State does what it can to prolong the matter, maybe to drive a point home to online activities and their activities on social media accounts.

Since Saturday 4 November 2017 O’Donovan has been confined to Chikurubi Maximum Prison for online activities which the organisation she works for, Magamba Network, has stated that she’s innocent in the matter.

A hashtag on Twitter in the form of ‘#FreeMartha‘ has been created to show support for Martha and to call for her release, many claiming this is in conflict with one’s constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression. Zimbabwe recently set up a government ministry, the Ministry of Cyber Security, Threat Detection and Mitigation, to monitor and curb social media abuse.

Members of the public, including a Member of Parliament, have spoken out about the arrest and calling for her release.

No trial date has been set yet as police “continue investigations”, while the American Embassy states that they are “monitoring the situation“. O’Donovan faces 20 years in prison if found guilty of “trying to overthrow the government”, albeit she was allegedly trying to do this through Twitter!

Have you been following this matter? What are your thoughts towards the case? Does the State have a case or are they just trying to frustrate citizens and get them to move away from posting stuff on social media?



  1. Nyikaino

    Mugabe’s government has continued with its ruthlessness of arresting and detaining people who will be discharged later in court. This has gone on for long now. Release Martha unconditionally!!! She has no case to answer. We pray in the name of the Mighty God that she be released NOW!!! God is going to judge all those who are perpetrating violence and unwarranted arrests of our innocent people. Come 2018, ZANU PF is going to lose. This time around, no rigging. You are losers

  2. Robson Aripi

    This case feels different. What is she doing here that cannot be done by locals. It is reported she is helping Magamba with their TV project. Given the mediocrity of their work it really questionable why they would bring her in all the way from the USA. Was the post advertised. What skills were they looking for and how did they end up with her?

    Social media has unearthed some posts by her participating in shutdown attempts last year. It’s very odd. A foreigner pushing for shutdown? It seems she is here more for politics reasons than any specialist technical skill:

    1. Garikai Dzoma

      First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
      Because I was not a Socialist.

      Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
      Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

      Whenever I come across such insenstivity I am moved to share this little poem from after Nazi Germany:
      Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
      Because I was not a Jew.

      Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

    2. Mabhunu

      Just like all other eople Martha O’Donovan us free to work wherever she want. I dobt even know how many Zimabeans live and work in other countries. If you also want a job with Magamba TV you just apply. If you want to go and work in Ameria, you just go if you think you have what it takes. You’re such a miserable jerk ass

    3. Xibo

      You are disappointingly shallow

  3. A R

    They are just sending a message that they can do this. The trial will be a farce and she’ll be deported

    1. Always off Topic

      Very true , it is nothing but a scare tactic, i mean why did they go after an American of all people. It is either that or someone is trying very hard to get “Golden Goliath’s” attention.

  4. tonderayi

    Expects are being imported into Zimbabwe and several other african countries, to employ social media to distabilize Zimbabwe. This is the project this lady is working for, Any one who can read can agree to this. Its time enemies be identified and the law must take its course.