Violence breaks out as MDC Alliance activist sentenced

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

VIOLENCE broke out at the Harare Magistrates Court yesterday after police beat up MDC Alliance supporters who were protesting against a 14-month sentence imposed on party executive Makomborero Haruziviishe for inciting public violence.

The melee started when MDC Alliance youths confronted a police officer, accusing him of molesting their executive member Vongai Tome while trying to control the crowd when journalists were interviewing party spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere.

The youths tried to manhandle the police officer, who was rescued by his colleagues as others chased away the youths from the court
premises.

They also assaulted the public, including 263Chat journalist Samuel Takawira, who was injured.

Tension had been mounting since Haruziviishe was convicted last Thursday by magistrate Judith Taruvinga, leading to police maintaining a heavy presence at the court.

The protesting youths accused the courts of being captured by Zanu PF to advance a political agenda.

After the sentencing, Mahere said the party would appeal.

“We have talked to his lawyers and they will definitely file an appeal this week,” she said.

Haruziviishe, represented by Kossam Ncube from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, was convicted on two charges of inciting public violence.

Taruvinga sentenced him to 24 months on the first charge and 12 months on the second, but suspended 10 months and six months, respectively. The sentences will run concurrently.

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