UPDATED: Renowned author Tsitsi Dangarembga and co-accused fined ZW$70k each for inciting public violence

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By Staff Reporter

WORLD acclaimed author, Tsitsi Dangarembga and her co-accused, Julie Barnes, have been found guilty of inciting public violence after staging a peaceful demonstration in Harare’s leafy suburb of Borrowdale.

They were handed a wholly suspended six months jail term and ordered to pay ZW$70 000 fine each.

Magistrate Barbra Mateko convicted Dangarembga and Barnes following a full trial at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts Thursday.

In her ruling Mateko said, “Considering the sequence of events, images tendered in court, evidence by journalists and witnesses clearly, the state manages to prove its prima facie case…that the two intended to incite violence and the accused are found guilty as charged.”

In passing sentence, Mateko averred the court had taken into account that the convicted were first female offenders and that he two never had any brush with the law before.

“It is trite at law that the elderly should be treated with leniency. Evidence tendered shows they are elderly and of ill health. At the time of the trial they came to court consistently up to the time the court handed down its judgement.

“The first accused has contributed in education and development of the country. The court has also found that now convicted, at the time they committed the offence they acted out of ignorance. If ever you are to proceed in a particular way you should know the procedure.

“The court is of the view the two should be given a chance to reform. A custodial sentence will be too harsh since the offence was not done in aggravating circumstances. A fine and suspended sentence is appropriate in ZW$70 000. Six months wholly suspended on condition they do not commit a similar offence,” said the magistrate.

The duo was facing charges of inciting public violence following a peaceful demonstration they conducted during the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020.

The two were represented by Chris Mhike.