THREE Gweru-based kombi drivers, who recently violently protested against buying police raffle tickets in return for lenient spot fines, have been jailed five years each.
By Simon Phiri
A year was suspended for five years on condition of good behaviour and a further two months was also put aside on condition that the three reinstitute $53 each to cover up for property damaged during the demonstration.
The court heard that sometime between September and October this year, the Zimbabwe Republic Police in Gweru forced kombi and taxi drivers to buy the raffle tickets before Richard Mutengwa, Joseph Kombayidziripi, Norman Tauyanago and seven other kombi drivers connived to stage a demonstration.
The 10 kombi drivers appeared before Midlands provincial magistrate, Musaiona Shotgame, last week facing charges of public violence, as defined in section 36 (1) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act chapter 9:23 and seven were acquitted.
It is the State’s case that on October 15 this year, at least 10 kombi drivers gathered near Monomutapa Police Station and blocked traffic going to and from Mkoba and other western suburbs in the Midlands capital in protest against incessant issuance of tickets for various road offences.
The court heard that the kombi drivers wielding iron rods and stones stopped other commuter omnibuses and forced passengers to disembark before reaching their destinations.
During the demonstration, the kombi drivers pelted some police officers with stones and in the process, smashed windscreens of a Nissan Caravan commuter omnibus and a rear windscreen of a Mazda 626 valued at $70 and $130, respectively.
The Mazda vehicle belonged to a police officer, Johannes Chigoba, who had been assigned to disperse the demonstrators in the company of three other officers.
Police managed to arrest the three suspects at the scene.
The three will serve an effective jail sentence of three years and 10 months.