former Bulawayo deputy mayor Tinashe Kambarami, who was fired following a High Court ruling declaring his election flawed because of a previous conviction, has won the appeal against both conviction and sentence on the criminal charge.
BY SILAS NKALA
High Court judge Justice Thompson Mabhikwa last year nullified Kambarami’s election as ward 3 councillor after political pressure group, 1893 Mthwakazi Restoration Movement Trust, sought an order nullifying his election based on his conviction on charges of theft of an electric cord in 2018.
Following his removal from his deputy mayoral and councillor posts last year, Kambarami through his lawyer Maqhawe Mpofu of Samp Mlaudzi and Partners filed an appeal against both conviction and sentence at the High Court.
In his judgment yesterday, Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese nullified the conviction and sentence.
“The court in our view erred in taking a casual approach to the guilty plea proffered by appellant. Having submitted contradictory statements, the trial magistrate was supposed to have canvassed more information from the accused. The plea was, therefore, not genuine and accordingly the conviction and sentence are set aside,” Justice Makonese ruled.
Kambarami’s lawyer yesterday said his client was now free to contest in any election.
“We have received the judgment from the court and we are satisfied that our client has been granted the justice that was due to him. We applaud the court for delivering a fair and just order which increases the public confidence on the justice system of our land,” he said.
In challenging the conviction and sentence, Kambarami submitted that the court erred in convicting and sentencing him on the matter by taking a casual approach to the guilty plea he proffered. He said the magistrate could have sought more clarification from him on his plea before passing judgment.