By Court Reporter
VIOLENCE accused vendors leader Stan Zvorwadza was Thursday cautioned after he dumped court to attend to President Emmerson Mnangagwa who was set for a Harare interface rally with informal traders same day.
Zvorwadza, who is National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe chair, is in the courts for 2016 charges in which he allegedly threatened to burn Harare’s Rainbow Towers if the hotel continued to accommodate then Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko who had set up base there since his appointment months before.
On Thursday, Zvorwadza almost invited trouble from the trial magistrate who warned him against disrespecting his court after he turned up for trial late.
His excuse was that he had been preparing to host President Mnangagwa, who however did not turn up for the event.
Harare magistrate Francis Mapfumo said it was clear the activist had no respect for the courts since he failed to appear in court twice before while giving different excuses.
“Next time the court will not hesitate to send you to a place where someone will bring you to court without failure.
“This habit of treating court business with less priority should end or next time the court will be forced to lock you up until your case is finalised,” ruled the magistrate before he cancelled his arrest warrant, the third since he was summoned for trial some two months ago.
The state had urged the magistrate to lock Zvorwadza up to set an example to those who disrespected the courts.
Prosecuting, Desire Chidanire said it was not good to drag the President’s name into criminal cases in a bid to intimidate the courts.
Zvorwadza told court his organisation was hosting the state leader as informal traders to air their grievances as preparations for harmonised elections take centre stage.
He is answering to charges of threatening to commit violence after he purportedly threatened to burn down the hotel for allegedly accommodating Mphoko at tax payers’ expense.
The state once dropped the charges after witnesses failed to attend but his case was recently revived.
However, the trial has failed to kick off three times after the activist has been dodging court.
According to court papers, Zvorwadza mobilised 20 youths and stormed the hotel where Mphoko was holed up since his appointment into the lofty government position 2014.
Court heard the avowed Mnangagwa supporter and his accomplices waved placards demanding Mphoko to check out of the facility “immediately” and save tax payers’ money.
During the incident, terrified hotel staff had to scurry to safety as the drama unfolded leaving clients exposed to harm.
It is alleged Zvorwadza then threatened to burn down the hotel before he was arrested by the police who had rushed to scene.
He denies the allegations arguing that on the day in question, he only went to the hotel to have tea.