Zanu PF youths jailed for kidnap and extortion of minibus touts

A regional magistrate in Bulawayo made a surprise ruling this week when he sentenced several ZANU PF youths to three years in jail, for crimes that ZANU PF youths have been committing with impunity for years.

According to Newsday newspaper, Magistrate Mark Dzira slammed the jail sentence on three thugs who extorted money from minibus rank marshals that they had kidnapped and taken to their provincial party headquarters, then forced to buy fuel for ZANU PF vehicles.

Minibus drivers and market vendors have been at the mercy of ZANU PF youth gangs for years, paying illegal “operation fees” daily and plying less lucrative routes chosen by the youth, who favour card carrying party members. Impunity has been their reward from top officials who use them to assault MDC supporters and any perceived enemies of ZANU PF.

The case in Bulawayo broke the rule when on Monday Magistrate Dzira convicted Hardlife Ndlovu of Emakhandeni and Nqobani Mlilo and Mthunzi Mabhena from Nkulumane. They had pleaded not guilty.

The three had demanded $50 per day from each rank, saying it was to be used to buy fuel for their party owned vehicles which were grounded at the offices. The rank marshals did not have money at the time and it was agreed they would pay later that afternoon. It was when they went to collect the money that the youths were arrested by plain clothes police who had been alerted.

The trio were sentenced to four years for kidnapping and one year for extortion, with two years suspended for a period of five years on condition of good behaviour.

Meanwhile in Harare, gangs of ZANU PF youths continue to extort money from vendors and minibus drivers ever day. Just last week it was reported that the Chipangano gang is illegally collecting large sums of money that should be paid to the Council for services.

Top officials in the MDC-T, including the MP for Mbare where Chipangano is based, admitted they have been banned from their own constituencies.

The Bulawayo verdict was surprising but it is one small step in tackling a major problem, ZANU PF’s continued control of the police and the impunity their thugs enjoy. SW Radio Africa

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