Activist Obert Masaraure’s sentencing tomorrow

Prosper Dembedza Herald Correspondent

Harare Regional magistrate, Mrs Feresi Chakanyuka has deferred sentencing in the case of convicted activist and Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) leader Obert Masaraure to tomorrow saying she needs time to go through the submissions.

Masaraure was found guilty of obstruction of justice.

He is accused of posting a message on X (formerly Twitter) demanding the release of his colleague, Robson Chere, who had been arrested in connection with the death of an ARTUZ member, Roy Issa, in 2016.

Issa allegedly plunged to his death from the seventh floor of a Harare hotel.

An inquest into his death ruled out foul play, but police went on to reopen the docket and filed murder charges against Masaraure and Chere.

The activist has several cases pending before the courts, including subversion, and breaching Covid-19 safety regulations.

In mitigation on the case of obstruction of justice, Masaraure’s lawyer, Mr Tapiwa Muchineripi submitted that Masaraure is a first time offender, adding that he should be given a chance to rehabilitate himself.

Mr Muchineripi said the court should consider that Masaraure is married with three minor children.

“This court should come up with a sentence which should not exceed a fine or community service,” he said, adding that imprisonment is a serious punishment that should be applied to serious offenders.

However, Prosecutor Mr Ephraim Zinyandu said the accused was convicted for interfering with a case that was still ongoing and therefore he can be sentenced to either a fine or one year in prison.

Mr Zinyandi said the offence jeopardised the administration of the judicial system, adding that Masaraure’s social media posts had effects that were felt nationally and beyond.

“Since he is a popular figure, a lot of people listened to what he was saying. He meant to make people act and react against the administration,” said Mr Zinyandu.

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