Kwekwe deputy mayor, Aaron Sithole (MDC-T) was, along with two other party officials, yesterday jailed for three years after being convicted of public violence.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Kwekwe provincial magistrate, Ngoni Nduna jailed Sithole (69), another councillor, Weston Masiya (46) and an activist, Tendai Virimayi (33) after convicting them of the offence, which they committed last July.
He, however, suspended one year on condition of good behaviour after considering that Sithole and Masiya were of an advanced age.
In his ruling, Nduna said public violence was a serious offence and only a custodial sentence would serve the ends of justice.
The three were arrested together with former Kwekwe Central legislator, Blessing Chebundo, and former Kwekwe mayor, Shadreck Tobaiwa in the wake of countrywide demonstrations against President Robert Mugabe’s government. Chebundo and Tobaiwa were acquitted of the charge.
Chipo Hungwe appeared for the State.
Lawyer, Reginald Chidawanyika, whose firm was representing the MDC-T activists, said they would immediately appeal against both conviction and sentence.
The MDC-T was quick to condemn both the conviction and sentence, saying the magistrate had grossly misdirected himself by taking sides in a clearly politicised matter.
Party spokesperson, Obert Gutu said they were disappointed that a clearly political case had resulted in the abuse of the criminal justice system.
“It is a miscarriage of justice and with due respect to the trial magistrate, I would like to say he totally misdirected himself in all matters of law, especially, when the facts were clear that this was a politicised matter,” he said.
Gutu noted that, if anything, Sithole, an elderly man, who suffers from hypertension and struggles to walk, was a victim of violence visited upon MDC-T activists by Zanu PF supporters on the fateful day.
The two join three other MDC-T activists, Tungamirai Madzokere, Last Maengahama and Yvonne Musarurwa, who were convicted and jailed for 20 years following the marathon trial of over 30 party officials charged with killing a police officer in May 2011.