By Mashonaland East Correspondent
Marondera: A 24-year-old Beatrice man, who was arrested last week while wearing an army uniform, was Wednesday sentenced to six months in prison by a Marondera magistrate for impersonation.
Prosecutor Marvellous Muchacha told court that Tatenda Donald Chiwa of Plot 199 in Beatrice was on 6 February intercepted by soldiers who were on patrol in Marondera’s Dombotombo suburb.
On interrogating him, the ZNA officers discovered that Chiwa was not a member of the armed forces.
They took him to Marondera Central Police Station where he failed to explain how he had acquired the uniform, which was later produced in court as exhibit.
Chiwa pleaded not guilty but was still convicted after trial magistrate Ignatius Mhene said he had failed to prove in court that he was an attested member of the ZNA.
He was sentenced to 12 months in jail but six months of the sentence were suspended.
Chiwa’s sentence also comes when members of the ZNA have been banned from wearing uniforms unless they were on official deployment.
In a memo, released last week, ZNA commander Lieutenant General Edzai Chimonyo said the measures had been taken “to ensure impostors abusing the uniforms will be easily identified and also ensure safety of members outside cantonment areas.”
“It has been noted with concern that ZNA uniform has been abused in offences being committed such as robbery, gold panning, fraud, theft and extortion among others. Some members have also been attacked by civilians whilst in uniforms,” Chimonyo said.
Soldiers have been accused of killing, assaulting, raping and other human rights violations against civilians following wild countrywide protests that conceded with a three-day job stay-away called by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions last month.