Jailed anti-government activists in fresh bid for freedom

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

LAWYERS representing incarcerated prominent Bulawayo political activist, Josphat “Mzaca” Ngulube (34) and three others have applied for bail at the High Court in pending appeal.

Bulawayo magistrate, Tinashe Tashaya last month sentenced Ngulube and his co-accused to seven years in prison for public violence related to the January civil unrest.

Tashaya suspended one year on condition that the four will not commit a similar crime within six years.

Ngulube, Fortune Masuku (29), Melusi Moyo (32) and Otilia Sibanda (34), a member of Joice Mujuru’s People First, were found guilty of burning cars and breaking several windows of Eva Bitu, former Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial women‘s league chairperson during the violent January protests.

One of the convicts’ lawyers, Nqobani Sithole from Abammeli Lawyers for Human Rights told that the bail application was made this week.

“We have filed bail application for our clients at the High Court pending appeal. We have already served the state with the bail application papers,” he said.

Sithole said some of the facts which the magistrate relied on in coming up with the sentence were never mentioned during trial proceedings.

According to state papers, on 14 January at about 7 am, the activists, acting in connivance with 100 others, unlawfully blocked the free movement of traffic at an intersection along Sizinda Road and Nketa Drive.

The mob accused Bitu of solely benefiting from taxpayers’ money, pushing her Ford Ranger out of the yard before setting it on fire.

“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,” the state papers further stated.

The property destroyed is worth US$95 000.