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January protests: Activist to know fate Thursday

Bulawayo political activist Josphat ‘Mzaca’ Ngulube who is facing allegations of burning three cars, destroying a precast wall and breaking several windows of a house belonging to Zanu-PF Bulawayo provincial women’s league chairperson Eva Bitu is set to know his fate Thursday.

Ngulube (34) and six other assailants pleaded not guilty to a charge of malicious damage to property during the violent January protests.

His co-accused are Esther Mbewe (53), Fortune Masuku (29), Melusi Moyo (32), Lavenda Moyo (66), Thabisani Ngwenya (32), Otilia Sibanda (34), Angeline Mwemba (41), Minenhle Mahlangu (28), Mwale Chifufu (34) and Duduzile Amisi (39).

They are all represented by lawyers from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

Bulawayo provincial magistrate Tinashe Tashaya postponed the matter to November 14 for ruling after the matter had undergone a full trial.

During an inspection in loco that was carried out by the Bulawayo magistrate’s court recently, Bitu testified that Ngulube was standing outside the house shouting that the cars must be burnt.

She said Ngulube and his crew were in a kombi which had tyres on its roof and had blocked the road with stones before they started turning cars away.

“They smashed the windows of the Ford Ranger which belongs to the women’s league. They used metal bars to smash the windows. The fire destroyed the house and burnt trees. I fled to seek refuge from a neighbour, I jumped over the precast wall to escape the scene,” testified Bitu.

Another state witness Doprah Dlamini told the court she saw the crew close to her house where they were shouting that they were going to burn Bitu’s house.

According to the State case as presented by Jetro Mada, on 14 January at about 7 am, the accused persons, acting in connivance with 100 others, unlawfully blocked the free movement of traffic at an intersection along Sizinda Road and Nketa Drive.

Mada said the crew accused Bitu of solely benefiting from taxpayers’ money and pushed her Ford Ranger out of the yard where they set it alight.

“Accused persons went back into the yard where they had left a Nissan NP300 and a Toyota Vitz. They set alight the Nissan whose flames destroyed part of the Vitz. The Ford Ranger and Nissan NP300 were burnt beyond repair,” said Mada.

Mada said the cars have a total value of US$95 000.

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