After being found guilty on a charge of Conspiracy to commit public violence as defined in section 188 as read with section 36 of the Criminal Law (codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9:23] on the 19th of March, Welcome Zimuto and five civic society activists, Munyaradzi Gwisai, Hopewell Gumbo, Antoneta Choto, Tatenda Mombeyarara and Edson Chakuma appeared before a Harare Regional Magistrate Mr. Kudakwashe Jarabini on the 21st of March for sentencing in their case.
Sentencing was expected on the 20th of March after the Magistrate listened to both the defense and prosecution in mitigation and aggravation. In mitigation, the defense counsel argued that the six had careers and five of them had families. He also argued that the said conspiracy had not succeeded. In aggravation however, the prosecutor urged the Magistrate to give a deterrent sentence to warn other would-be offenders. He also argued that although the conspiracy had not succeeded, there was sufficient intent on the part of the defendants.
The six were sentenced to thirty-four months wholly suspended. Twelve months were suspended for five years on condition that they don’t commit a similar offence. The other twelve months have been suspended on condition that they perform four hundred and twenty hours of community service in government institutions. The other ten months were set aside on condition they paid a US $500 fine. Fines should be paid by March 26 and they will commence their community service on March 31. Welcome will be doing his community service at Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital. However, defense lawyer Mr. Aleck Muchadehama has given notice to appeal both conviction and sentence at the high court.
The six’s charges arose from a members’ meeting they had on February 19 last year as part of the International Socialist Orgarnisation [ISO]. Originally they were forty-six people arrested and forty were released after three weeks of incomprehensible prison conditions that also included torture.
Initially they were charged with Treason and subversion of constitutional government which was dropped preferring four alternative charges instead. They were charged with the crime of Conspiracy to commit public violence as defined in section 188 as read with section 36 of the Criminal Law (codification and Reform) Act[Chapter 9:23] which they were found guilty of . Inciting public violence as defined in section 187 as read with section 36 of the Criminal Law (codification and Reform) Act[Chapter 9:23] Or, Alternatively, Participating in gathering with intent to promote public violence, breeches of peace or bigotry as defined in section 37(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (codification and Reform) Act[Chapter 9:23]Or, Alternatively Participating with intent to promote public violence, breach of peace or bigotry as defined in section (1) (c) of the Criminal Law (codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9:23] which they were acquitted.
Prosecuting was Mr. Edmore Nyazamba and the defense lawyer was Mr. Aleck Muchadehama.
Chinhoyi Students Released:
After spending four nights at Chinhoyi Central Police Station, three of the nine students arrested on the 15th of March were released on the 19th of March. Initially nine student activists Luke Maenzanise former Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT)secretary general, Munyaradzi Makunike SRC representative, Prosper Matimbo, Benon Mutema, Adu Manuel, Tonderai Manjengwa, McDonald Jakarasi and Lynience Paidamayo were arrested on the 15th of March. They were detained on allegations of inciting public violence, this emanating from their questioning the authorities about the increase of food prices in the dining halls. The other six students were released during the course of the weekend which left only three students Luke Maenzanise, Benon Mutema and Munyaradzi Makunike in custody and they were supposed to appear in court on the 19th of March. They were however released before they could go to court due to lack of evidence and the three will be summoned.
Five Masvingo Activists Acquitted:
Having spent nearly nine months of attending court sessions, five Masvingo activists Arnold Batirai, Zivanai Muzorodzi, Gamuchirai Mukura, Godfrey Kurauone and Brighton Ramusi appeared before a Masvingo Magistrate on the 21st of March. They were facing charges of malicious damage to property and assault. The charges emanated from a protest the students waged over the allocation of residence to Cuban doctors over students at Masvingo Polytechnic in July last year. The five activists were acquitted because the magistrate determined that the state had failed to bring a prima- facie case against the accused.
Four Great Zimbabwe University Students Released:
Four Great Zimbabwe University students Tapiwa Gwara, Tapiwa Madyira, July Musengi and Effeso Munaro appeared before a Masvingo Magistrate on the 19th of March with the case initially postponed to the 20th and 21st of March. The case was further postponed to the 9th of April. They are facing charges of public violence under section 36 of the Criminal Law [Codification and Reform] Act [Chapter 9:23]. Their charges emanated from their challenging the authorities after they had been ordered to defer their studies upon late payment of fees. They are students who are studying commercials at the University who were on attachment.
ZINASU Activists Released:
Six ZINASU activists Joram Chikwadze, Pride Mukono, Tinashe Chisaira, Tinashe Mtyaso, Francis Mufambi and Tryvine Musokeri who were arrested on the 21st of March appeared before a Harare Magistrate today the 23rd of March. Initially they were being charged with Conspiracy to commit public violence as defined in section 188 as read with section 36 of the Criminal Law (codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9:23], however in court they were now being charged with Disorderly Conduct in a public place as defined in section 41 of the Criminal Law (codification and Reform) Act section (b). The six activists were released on $20 bail each and their case will continue on the 17th of April.
Meanwhile, Cozet Chirinda who was arrested with the other six activists was also released. However, she was asked to pay an admission of guilt fine of $20 on the same charge of Disorderly Conduct in a public place as defined in section 41 of the Criminal Law (codification and Reform) Act section (b). She escaped with a fine due to her asthmatic condition which prevented her from attending court with the others.
Their charge emanated from their singing and chanting in front of the court as they celebrated the sentence handed down in the case of their fellow comrade Welcome Zimuto and his five co-accused. They are also alleged to have deposited fliers at the courts with as yet unknown demands.
Bindura University Students Released
Six Bindura University of Science Education Students Zvikomborero Albino, Tawanda Kambarami, Marko Chinakidzwa, Joseph Kwaramba, Fungai Muregi and Eddington Zinyandu who were arrested in Bindura appeared before a Bindura Magistrate on the 19th of March, they were facing charges of public violence, and this arose after a fight broke out between the two main rival parties that were contesting for the Student Representative Council. The students were released on free bail and they were supposed to appear in court today the 23rd of March, which did not happen due to the dismissal of the charges.
Seven Masvingo Activists Detained:
Seven Masvingo Activists, Solomon Chimedza, Talent Chipunza, Moses Mutisi, Justice Simango, Rodrick Mtisi, July Musengi and Prosper Tiringindi were arrested yesterday the 22nd of March. Their detention came about as it was believed that they were congregating with the intention to go and cause disorder at the Great Zimbabwe University. They were held at Rujeko Police Station and were released yesterday. They were set to record warned and cautioned statements today but this failed to happen. They are now going to be called as and when the police are ready.Post published in: News