Harare – At least seven protestors from Mabvuku have been sentenced to five years in jail for participating in the illegal demonstrations which rocked the country last month.
Magistrate Hosiah Mujaya sentenced the gang after a full trial and had a go at the police for a shoddy job saying they were turning the courts into police stations.
While passing sentence against the gang which had participated in the illegal demonstrations, Mujaya said those who looted shops and turned violent were not helping alleviate the country’s current situation but rather making it worse.
Ten suspects were brought before the courts on allegations of public violence and they included a minor who was sentenced to five strokes for participating in the July 14 national stay away.
The gang which comprised of Simbarashe Nyamadzawo (22), Talent Mugadza (21), Gilbert Jasimoni (34), Abisha Musakanda (24), George Tomu (26), Danny Sere (27) and Brian Zuze (23), Takudzwa Mutupa (19) and Brian Nyamayara (19) stood accused of public violence.
Nyamadzawo, Zuze, Nyamajaya and Mutupa were found not guilty and acquitted while the rest were each slapped with a five year jail term.
Of the five years, one and a half was suspended on condition of good behaviour and they were left with three years each.
The State led by Netsai Mushayabasa said on January 14 and around 0800 hours the minor together with 300 other accused persons who are still at large gathered at Kamunhu Shopping centre in Mabvuku disturbed to cause violence.
The minor was armed with catapults barricaded roads at the shopping centre, throwing missiles at Choppies Supermarket, and forced the supermarket to open the shop before they looted groceries.
The gang went on to throw missiles at various shops that were open forced them to join in in the shutdown campaign fuelling the violence.