Rights lawyers save Bulawayo man shot, jailed over anti-govt protests
HIGH Court Judge Evangelista Kabasa has set free a 30-year-old man who had been incarcerated for close to one year after he was arrested and charged with committing public violence during an anti-government demonstration held in January 2019 to protest against an increase in the price of fuel.
Promise Mandizha Dube of Luveve high-density suburb in Bulawayo was sentenced to serve four months at Khami Prison after he was convicted by Bulawayo Magistrate Tinashe Tashaya on 24 September 2019.
His trial came after he was unlawfully and without just cause shot at the back by police at a supermarket in Luveve high-density suburb in Bulawayo during the mass stay away held in January 2019.
Police who shot Dube did not attend to him or offer any assistance and was only assisted by members of the public who took him to Mpilo Hospital, where he was admitted and treated.
To cover up for the shooting and to try to justify their actions, ZRP officers from CID Law and Order Section at Bulawayo Central Police Station then arrested Dube on his hospital bed at Mpilo Hospital on 18 January 2019 and charged him with public violence as defined in section 36(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform Act) after they had heard about his shooting.
Dissatisfied with the conviction and incarceration of his client, Dube’s lawyer, Jabulani Mhlanga of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, filed an appeal against both conviction and sentence at the High Court on 8 October 2019 and also filed an application for release on bail pending the determination of his appeal.
On Friday 3 January 2020, Justice Kabasa, granted Dube ZWL$500 bail pending the determination of his appeal against both conviction and sentence.
The Judge also ordered Dube to report once per week on Fridays at Luveve Police Station and to reside at his given residential address until the final determination of his appeal.
In the appeal, Mhlanga argued that the State did not canvass all the essential elements to the charge of committing public violence and therefore failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt and that his imprisonment for four years was excessive as to induce a sense of shock.