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Sweet Sweet convicted of gun charges

News
A ZANU PF activist found with a firearm at a Bulawayo church function attended by Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko was yesterday convicted of illegal possession of a fire arm at a public place.

A ZANU PF activist found with a firearm at a Bulawayo church function attended by Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko was yesterday convicted of illegal possession of a fire arm at a public place.

BY SILAS NKALA

Sweet Sweet, a Nyamandlovu farmer, through lawyer Tendai Sibanda, had denied the charge when he appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Merilyn Mutshina.

However, Mutshina found him guilty and remanded him to today for sentence.

Sweet was found not guilty of the alternative charge, possession of a gun outside its intended purpose.

In convicting him, Mutshina said the State managed to prove that it was illegal for any civilian to be found carrying a fire arm at a public gathering where only authorised security personnel could do so.

Sweet was arrested on April 4 at the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM Sengwayo) church’s 60th anniversary in Pelandaba suburb after one of Mphoko’s bodyguards, Vumani Ncube, saw a pistol protruding from his jacket.

He was caught conducting ushering duties, a job only assigned to church deacons.

He had 14 rounds of ammunition. Sweet argued the event was not a public gathering.

He said he was a member of the church.

Mutshina said the State proved beyond doubt that the meeting was a public gathering contrary to Sweet’s claims.

In his defence, Sweet told the court he was protecting his $2 and R5 cash.

Prosecutor Dumisani Ndlovu said it was clear that Sweet committed an offence by carrying a gun at a public function.

Sweet never disputed possession of the gun. He claimed a certificate authorised him to carry the gun, but not to discharge it in public.

He said the church was not a public place and he was assigned by an elder and manager of the church, Samson Mukono, to conduct ushering duties on the day.

Sweet claimed he was involved in logistics concerning the visit by Mphoko and Bulawayo Provincial Affairs minister Eunice Sandi Moyo to the church.

He said he was tasked to sit close to the VP and he looked for someone to keep his gun as it was not proper for him to perform such functions while carrying a gun.

Sweet said his gun cabinet was in Nyamandlovu where he usually keeps the firearm.

Sweet was arrested on April 4 at the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM Sengwayo) church’s 60th anniversary in Pelandaba suburb after one of Mphoko’s bodyguards, Vumani Ncube, saw a pistol protruding from his jacket.

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