Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
Bail ruling for suspects who were arrested for staging violent protests in Beitbridge last Friday which resulted in the vandalism of infrastructure, looting from shops and the burning of a Zimbabwe Revenue Authority warehouse has been set for today at the local magistrate court.
The group is part of a mob of 74 people who were arrested on similar charges while protesting the implementation of Statutory Instrument No 64 of 2016 which removes listed products from the Open General Import Licence.
Among those who appeared in court were two men from Bulawayo; Nqobizitha Mazibeli (26) and Njabulo Ndlovu (30) and Thomas Mweya of Masvingo.
Other members of the group are; Hitherton Shoko (44), Daniel Gumbochuma (26), Hendrick Phiri (26), Addington Matiya (28), Lovemore Mbedzi (27), Edzani Moyo (32), Tshiyoka Muleya (30), Justice Mangezi (32),
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Miriam Phiri (24), William Rupiya (24), Farai Nyamhuka (23), Nigel Kaseke (29), Raodoff Hurudza (28), Knowledge Vengesai (39), Nhlanhla Moyo (26), Delight Masuka, (19) and Norest Hove all of Beitbridge town.
They were charged with public violence. Beitbridge resident magistrate Ms Gloria Takundwa remanded them in custody to today. Mr Reason Mutimba is representing the group on behalf of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
Beitbridge area prosecutor, Mr Johannes Tlou told the court that on July 1, the gang some of whom are cross border traders, vendors and ordinary people gathered at Beitbridge Border Post main entrance to protest against the implementation of the Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016.
He said they were addressed by the police officer commanding Beitbridge Chief superintendent Patrick Majuta to stop the demonstration and that they must disperse since their gathering was unlawful.
He added that after the address, the gang turned violent, started singing, throwing stones and missiles towards the police. They also marched, vandalising properties including traffic lights along the main highway and barricading the roads using stones and other objects.
The court further heard that they marched in groups with other people who are still at large damaging shops and looting. Mr Tlou said they later proceeded to Red Star wholesale complex which is now being rented for warehouse purposes by Zimra and set it on fire.
He said they also set fire on four forfeited vehicles which were parked outside the building and stoned other 35 vehicles within the same yard thereby extensively damaging them.
The suspects were later rounded up by police while targeting other properties.