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Zanu PF youths convicted

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Three Zanu PF youths from Bulawayo were yesterday convicted of extortion and kidnapping after they rounded up some commuter omnibus touts demanding money to refuel the party’s vehicles.

The touts were forcibly taken to Zanu PF’s Davies Hall headquarters.

Hardlife Ndlovu (29) of Emakhandeni, Nqobani Mlilo (31) and Mthunzi Mabhena (28) both of Nkulumane were convicted by Bulawayo regional Magistrate Mark Dzira, despite pleading not guilty to the charges.

Dzira remanded the trio in custody to a date yet to be advised after their lawyer Advocate Sabelo Sibanda asked the court for time to analyse the case.

But in his ruling, the magistrate said it was clear the three had committed the offence.

“According to the evidence given by the three state witnesses, Wilson Makamba, Mugove Nhete and Danny Mpofu who all testified in court that you forced them into the vehicle and later extorted some money from them, the State managed to establish that you really committed the crime because there was no reason why the complainants should have claimed you did that if you had not done so,” ruled the magistrate.

The court heard that on March 7, Ndlovu, Mlilo, and Mabhena went to Macs Garage in the city centre where they kidnapped the touts for commuter omnibuses plying Gwanda, Filabusi and Masvingo routes.

They took them to Davis Hall where they demanded $50 per day from users of each bus terminus, claiming it was for fuelling Zanu PF vehicles which were grounded at the party offices.

The complainants told the three they could not afford the money. The accused then reduced their demands to figures between $5 and $12, depending on the routes the transporters were plying.

The touts were released only after agreeing to give the Zanu PF youths the cash at 3pm.

However, the youths were arrested by plainclothes police officers after a tip-off when they went to collect the money.

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