By Tarisai Machakaire
Pro-democracy activists Patson Dzamara and Makomborero Haruzivishe had their main conviction for “trumped-up” robbery charges quashed yesterday after challenging their sentence.
Dzamara and his alleged accomplice Haruzivishe were sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment by Harare magistrate Josephine Sande in 2017 before three months were suspended on condition of good behaviour.
The remaining nine months were set aside on condition they perform 315 hours of community service at Harare Magistrates’ Courts but Dzamara contends the magistrate erred when she handed down that sentence.
Yesterday, appeal court judges at the High Court formally overturned the serious conviction against them, saying they had suffered a miscarriage of justice after the trial magistrate erred.
Justice Charles Hungwe ruled that the lower courts’ verdict exhibited politically-motivated intentions and cleared Dzamara and Haruzivishe.
“The context of the whole case points towards a political motive behind the arrest of …Dzamara and …Haruziviishe and that the court could not turn a blind eye to that aspect,” Hungwe ruled.
“The police wanted Dzamara and crew out of the Africa Unity Square at all costs or by hook or crook and this was not a bona fide arrest.”
The court also noted that when this incident occurred, the police were trying to arrest Dzamara and crew for an alleged robbery but the State never proceeded to charge them with the said robbery.
The alleged victims of robbery disappeared from the scene immediately after the arrest of Dzamara and Haruzivishe, hence the High Court could not ignore Dzamara’s version that these were trumped up and politically-motivated charges.
Allegations of the case were that … on June 9, 2016 around midnight the two complainants disembarked from a commuter omnibus at Fourth Street bus terminus.
They reportedly passed through Africa Unity Square on their way to Copacabana bus terminus to get transport to Mufakose.
Dzamara and his accomplices then allegedly confronted the complainants and snatched their handbags before searching them.
The court heard they stole three ladies school uniforms, red jersey, pair of trousers, jean skirt and wallet with $30.
The other complainant lost three school jerseys and one floral dress. The complainants screamed for help and three police officers who were on duty near Parliament rushed to the scene.
Dzamara and Haruzivishe were alleged to have resisted arrest and took away constable Nhidza’s cap and baton.
They were later arrested and police allegedly recovered the stolen property valued $80. Daily News.