By Staff Reporter
Two Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) activists Taurai Befura (47) and Dennis Chiradza (63) have been handed an 18-month imprisonment sentence by a Marondera Magistrate, with six months suspended, and no option of a fine for assaulting a Zanu PF supporter in Mahusekwa last year.
According to the State’s case, Befura and Chiradza assaulted Stephen Musengeyi at Chiriseri business center, using open hands and fists.
The court heard that on May 14, 2022, Musengeyi went to Mudzimuirema School to watch a soccer match organized by Zanu PF.
Accompanied by Rodwell Makoni, Musengeyi later visited Chiriseri business center to purchase food, where they encountered Befura and Chiradza, who were wearing CCC T-shirts.
Musengeyi, identifying himself as a Zanu PF supporter, claimed that the two opposition supporters were seen in CCC regalia at the local shops.
He informed the court that he approached one of the CCC supporters and asked them to leave, asserting that there was a Zanu PF meeting taking place.
On the other hand, Makoni, the other State witness, testified that there was no meeting at the shops, and they were simply there to enjoy some drinks and relax with friends.
Musengeyi further claimed that Befura and Chiradza arrived with ten or more unidentified individuals who proceeded to assault him.
However, no medical affidavit was presented during the court proceedings, and Musengeyi himself acknowledged that he did not suffer any significant injuries.
Makoni also confirmed the absence of visible injuries on Musengeyi.
During the trial, no medical affidavit was presented as evidence of the assault, and the torn Zanu PF T-shirt, purportedly a result of the clashes, was not submitted as an exhibit.
Additionally, the two State witnesses provided contradictory statements, with the complainant even admitting that he had not sustained any injuries.
Nevertheless, Marondera magistrate Esther Mabika, when delivering the sentence, cited the grave nature of the violent offense and expressed the court’s disapproval, particularly given the current political climate.
Mabika justified the decision as a deterrent in line with the new dispensation and the head of State’s firm stance against political violence.
Highlighting the history of political violence in the country and the presence of political elements in this particular case, Mabika aimed to convey a clear message to the accused individuals and the wider community that such acts would not be tolerated.
Lynnet Phiri of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum represented Befura and Chiradza in court.