Mbare gig:DJ Fantan, Dhama plead guilty

BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA

CHILLSPOT Records boss Arnold Kamudyariwa (33), popularly known as DJ Fantan and his co- accused Simbarashe “Dhama” Chanachimwe (27) and Tafadzwa “Levelz” Kadzimwe (31) were yesterday convicted for organising an  illegal music bash in Mbare, Harare, on New Year’s Eve.

The three were convicted on their own plea when they appeared before magistrate Vongai Guwuriro, who remanded them in custody to today for sentencing.

The  trio was  convicted on charges of convening a public gathering during a national lockdown in contravention of Statutory Instrument 77 of 2020 of the COVID-19 regulations.

Kamudyariwa, through his lawyer Dumisani Mtombeni ,  pleaded for a lenient sentence arguing that he was the “face of  the  struggling ghetto youths”, who relied on him for better living.

Mtombeni also submitted that there was no evidence that people caught coronavirus from that event, neither was there anyone who sustained injuries during the show.

He said the convicts had learnt the hard way through pre-trial incarceration and had  resolved to become ambassadors against the spread of COVID-19  through their work as artistes.

“They have plans to approach the Health ministry with that idea of campaigning against the spread of COVID-19, ” Mtombeni pleaded.

“Kamudyariwa and Kadzimwe affectionately known as   DJ Fantan and Levels respectively,  have become household names and symbols of hope for all struggling ghetto  youths in  Zimbabwe.

“They play  a positive role  by encouraging  youth to abstain  from drug abuse. They even composed songs to campaign against crime, complimenting government  efforts.”

Mtombeni added that his clients were first offenders known for their “good character”, hence they were eligible for another chance in life through  a non-custodial sentence.

He said contary to media reports that Kamudyariwa went on the run after committing the offence, he actually  reported to the police twice prior to his arrrest. He argued that his clients ought not to be in court since 52 other offenders had been fined.

Chanachimwe, through his lawyer Tafadzwa Hungwe also told   the court   that he had no intention of hosting  that event but the majority of the guests  were uninvited.

He said the show was supposed to be held with  a limited guests of 50 people  and would be live-streamed on social media for the benefit of the public.

“Owing to  the live-stream on social media, residents from the neighbouring suburbs thronged into  the open air venue in the high-density surburb. There was no security to restrict   the crowd and my client  did not have the  resources to disburse the crowd,” said Hungwe.

The State,  led by prosecutors Michael Reza and Teddy Kamuriwo told the court that on  December 31, 2020 Chanachimwe organised a  music gala  at a venue between blocks 13 and 14 Matapi flats and invited Kamudyariwa and Kadzimwe  and other accused persons who are still at large.

Around 10:30pm,  a police officer discovered that the gala was in progress and notified his superior  Crispen Vengai Mupamhanga about the gathering.

Mupamhanga requested for reinforcement from the police district reaction  group, who managed to disperse the crowd  and arrest 20 people.

In aggravation, Reza called for a custodial sentence  for the convicts whom he said  had exposed citizens to the deadly virus eapecially considering  that the impoverished people of Mbare  could not   afford to have the place fumigated.

He said the gala was planned because they had invited  22  artistes to perform at the gala which was scheduled to run from 6pm to 6pm the following day.

Reza alleged that the accused had invited guests to attend the gala through a flyer which was, however, disputed by the trio.

“It was actually a death  trap,” Reza said.

“Orgarnisers of the Mbare show have deliberately touched fire and  risked the lives of  millions of the Zimbabwean population. Therefore they should be incarcerated. What they did is akin to attempeted murder for they risked the lives of many Mbare residents  by organising the show. An out-of-court sentence will trivialise  the impact of the novel virus and cases have spiralled since the gala was held.”

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