By Tarisai Machakaire
National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe (Navuz) president Sten Zvorwadza yesterday leapt with joy as he exited the magistrates’ court following an acquittal on disorderly conduct charges that emanated from a 2013 incident.
Harare magistrate Vongai Guwuriro acquitted the pro-democracy activist and noted that no reasonable court could have convicted him for that charge.
Guwuriro said the State had failed to prove a prima facie case against Zvorwadza.
“It is mind boggling that the State did not call numerous witnesses to testify in their case considering that the charge was of disorderly conduct in a public place where a lot of people could have witnessed,” Guwuriro said.
“The witnesses also based more on hearsay and the court found it difficult to rely on such information. The accused person was exercising his constitutional right as enshrined in Section 60 of the Constitution and bringing him to court for that was trivial.”
Zvorwadza hailed the acquittal and said it was a sign that some courts were upholding the rule of law.
“I have no complaints on the way my case was handled, I have been loyal since 2013 and obeyed every court order,” Zvorwadza said.
“What I am happy about is that there seems to be a new crop of magistrates that are impartial and do not depend on their bosses for instructions, but instead, apply the law as it is.”
The complainant is the State represented by Tanyanyiwa Mangena, 38, a police officer at Criminal Investigations Department, Vehicle Theft Squad (VTS), Southerton in Harare.
It was alleged that on January 9, 2013 Zvorwadza went to VTS for re-recording of a statement on a case that he had reported at that station.
The court heard that Zvorwadza was advised to wait by the reception since the officer was committed to another witness.
However, Zvorwadza decided to wait by the corridor and was approached by Mangena who told him to go and sit by the reception
It is alleged that Zvorwadzwa became “angry, violent, abusive and insulting” intending to disrupt peace at the station.
Zvorwadzwa then allegedly threatened Mangena saying: “If you are a bouncer go to PGHQ and arrest deputy commissioner-general (Innocent) Matibiri for stealing my motor vehicle.” Daily News