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Grace rally protesters spared jail


THREE men who protested against the bussing of people to First Lady Grace Mugabe’s rally held in Gwanda last Monday have been spared imprisonment, but will perform community service for 30 days while the trial of a fourth man who refuted the claims began on Friday.


Blessed Sibanda (24), Dumisile Sibanda (18) and Clearance Sibanda (18), all pleaded guilty to charges of public violence when they appeared before Gwanda magistrate Sheila Nazombe.

The three brothers were each sentenced to 10 months behind bars, but were lucky to escape prison life after the magistrate suspended three months on condition that they each pay back the complainant $83 being the value of the damaged rear view mirror of a Toyota Hilux.

The remaining seven months were wholly suspended on condition that each of them completes 245 hours of community service at Makwe Clinic.

In sentencing the three, the magistrate took into consideration that they had not wasted the court’s time by pleading guilty.

Prosecutor Edward Ndlovu said last Sunday at around 6pm the three were at Makwe business centre together with Phosani Sibanda who denies the charge, when they got into a scuffle with Sibongile Sibanda and her husband Morgan Sibanda who were organising transport to ferry Zanu PF supporters to Mugabe’s rally.

Sibongile, who claims Phosani is an MDC-T activist, is the chairperson of the United Women Miners’ Association, a shadowy small-scale miners grouping linked to Zanu PF.

“The accused persons, who were also at the business centre, started shouting, accusing Sibongile of organising transport to Grace’s rally and calling her (Sibongile) a prostitute,” the prosecutor said.

“The accused persons and others who are still at large started throwing stones indiscriminately and assaulting people and in the process assaulted Sibongile and Morgan using open hands, booted feet and stones, destroying a rear view mirror of their Toyota Hilux.”

Both Sibongile and Morgan suffered moderate injuries.

Phosani told the court police and the army were sent to round up his siblings. He denied the charges saying they were fabricated.
The trial continues today.

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