By Tarisai Machakaire
National Vendors Union leader Sten Zvorwadza will be back in court in February for trial continuation in a case he is accused of threatening to burn down a five-star hotel.
Zvorwadza was demonstrating against Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko’s prolonged stay at the Harare-based hotel.
The trial will continue on February 2.
The hotel group’s manager Trythings Mutyandasvika and Douglas Dembetembe, the hotel’s concierge, have already testified in the case.
Zvorwadza denied the allegations through his lawyer Marufu Mandevere who said the charges against his client did not subsist because they could only be attributed to a person who communicates threats to another person.
Prosecutor Venancia Mutake alleged that on June 26, Zvorwadza was in the company of three journalists and four other accomplices who are still at large.
The court heard that they were in possession of video cameras when Zvorwadza took a seat in the foyer and began shouting that he wanted to have breakfast.
Hotel management informed the police about Zvorwadza’s conduct before he was ordered to leave the hotel.
Zvorwadza reportedly refused to leave the hotel and instead shouted while resisting arrest: “You police are always disturbing my peace and abusing me. I am eating my money but you are after me.”
It was further alleged that Zvorwadza closed the main entrance from inside and demanded that police officers leave the hotel to pave way for their demonstration, arguing it was a constitutional right.
The court heard that Zvorwadza fumed that Mphoko was supposed to check out of the hotel because he was wasting taxpayers’ money and queried why the vice president refused to stay in a $3 million house built for him by government.
Zvorwadza reportedly gave the hotel a July 1 ultimatum for the vice president to vacate or he would mobilise thousands of his members to demonstrate and declare the hotel closed.
He is alleged to have threatened to tarnish the hotel’s reputation to the extent of even burning the place down by saying “kana kutopisa hotera yacho”. Daily News