Auxilia Katongomara and Mashudu Netsianda, Court Reporters
TWENTY-FIVE suspected hooligans who are alleged to be part of a mob that unleashed violence in Bulawayo, burning cars, property and looting shops, appeared in court yesterday.
The accused persons, among them a 16-year-old juvenile, appeared separately at Tredgold and Western Commonage magistrates’ courts.
Nkosiyokuthula Sibelu (46) Lucia Mapuka (35) Oakaranda Mudenda (35) Chancellor Maturure (29), Tendai Chinoshava (27), Coliwe Mutale (25) Thenjiwe Ndlovu (24), Perfect Ncube (23), Sibonginkosi Mhlanga (23) Prince Nyathi (21), Brian Sibanda , (21) and Bulangila Mwembe (19), Farai Mandava (23), Trevor Ndlovu, (22), Shelton Hlomuka (19), Thamsanqa Moyo (31) Prince Moyo (27), Brian Ndlovu (26), Gerald Lunga (30) and a 16 year-old juvenile who cannot be named, appeared before Western Commonage magistrate Mr Lungile Ncube charged with public violence.
They allegedly broke and gained entry into Totobisa Beergarden where they looted beer on Tuesday.
The juvenile was arrested carrying 4kg sugar, two bottles of cooking oil and two loaves of bread after breaking into Marisha Supermarket in Old Magwegwe.
Twelve of the accused allegedly forcibly invaded Choppies supermarket in New Lobengula by breaking the main burglar bar and doors and gained entry into the supermarket and looted groceries.
They were arrested while inside as they tried to loot groceries.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights’ lawyer, Mr Tanaka Muganyi who represented the accused persons, argued that the reasons by the State were not compelling enough to deny the accused persons bail.
Mr Ncube remanded the 20 in custody to tomorrow for a bail ruling while the juvenile was referred to the Percy Ibbotson Home, a juvenile facility, awaiting bail ruling.
The State led by Mr Kenneth Shava opposed bail, saying releasing them would send a wrong message.
He argued that the State had a strong case given that the accused persons were arrested at the scene of the crime.
At Tredgold Building, Fidelis Moyo (43) of Njube suburb, Gideon Mbira (41) of Makokoba suburb, Tichaona Mkandla (35) of Kingsdale, Nkosikhona Sibanda (24) of Reigate, Owen Ndlovu (39) of Queenspark and Bekezela Dube (18) of Nkulumane appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Mr Tinashe Tashaya facing charges of public violence and criminal nuisance.
They all pleaded not guilty to the charges and were remanded in custody to January 21 pending trial.
Prosecutors said on Monday, the accused persons were allegedly part of a mob that staged mass protests dubbed “Zimbabwe National Total Shutdown” and went around looting shops, burning vehicles and private properties and disrupted public order and peace.
One of the accused persons allegedly insulted police while they were carrying out their duties during the protests at Entumbane Shopping Mall.
The accused persons were part of the crowd that allegedly damaged property and burnt tyres, barricaded roads and threw missiles at the law enforcement agents.
Mbira was arrested after he was allegedly spotted by police officers starting a fire between Basch Street and 3rd Avenue near Vundu Flats in Makokoba suburb.
Mkandla and Sibanda, acting in concert, allegedly went to Number 1 shops along the Bulawayo-Nkayi road and blocked the movement of traffic by barricading it with stones.
Ndlovu and Dube ganged up and allegedly barricaded the same road at Romney Park flyover using tyres and logs.
They were arrested at the scene while carrying stones.
Others were arrested while drinking the looted beer. The planned three-day nationwide stay away was called by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and other civil society organisations aligned to the opposition MDC-Alliance.
The protesters also turned parts of the city’s western suburbs into no-go areas as they set up barricades, makeshift roadblocks, burnt tyres and attacked police officers and other law enforcement agents.
A police car was burnt down in Pumula suburb while Choppies Supermarkets in New Lobengula and Entumbane and other shops in the western suburbs were looted during the protests.
Hooligans were on the rampage looting shops, torching the buildings after the looting, assaulting innocent people who refused to join them.
During the past three days, the hooligans fought running battles with the police who on many occasions were forced to use tear gas to disperse the marauding drunken youths.
— @mashnets @AuxiliaK.