Former Highfield MDC-T legislator Munyaradzi Gwisai will start performing community service today after his application for suspension of the sentence hit a snag yesterday.
Gwisai, a law lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe and the International Socialist Organisation general co-ordinator, will do 420 hours of community service as punishment of attempting to incite public violence on February 19 last year.
Harare provincial magistrate Kudakwashe Jarabini threw away the activist’s application arguing there were no prospects of success on his appeal at the High Court.
Gwisai who was charged alongside Antoinette Choto, Tatenda Mombeyarara, Edson Chakuma, Hopewell Gumbo and Welcome Zimuto, filed an appeal at the High Court against both conviction and sentence.
This was after the magistrate had slapped them with a 12-month wholly suspended sentence in addition to a $500 fine each. On Wednesday, the activists’ lawyer Aleck Muchadehama argued his clients had high prospects of success on appeal.
Muchadehama said in terms of prejudice, if Gwisai and his colleagues started the community service, they were likely to complete serving the sentence before their appeal could be heard at the High Court.
However, prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba opposed the application, arguing there were no prospects of success and hinted the State would file a counter appeal against the sentence.
“Our view is that the sentence was too generous and this court was too lenient hence if the sentence is stayed, it would bring into disrepute the justice delivery system,” Nyazamba argued.The six activists were arrested while watching video footage of last year’s uprising in Egypt at their offices along Julius Nyerere Way in Harare. Gwisai and Choto will do their community service at Haig Park Primary School, Mombeyarara at Zengeza 4 High School, Zimuto at Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital, Chakuma at Warren Park 1 Primary School and Gumbo at Queensdale Primary School.