Paddington Japajapa convicted

A HARARE magistrate yesterday sentenced MDC activist Paddington Japajapa to three years in jail after convicting him of inciting the public to commit political violence when he accused the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) of rigging the 2018 harmonised elections in favour of Zanu PF.

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

Provincial magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti-Guwuriro suspended one year of the sentence, meaning Japajapa will serve an effective two years.

He was denying the allegations, saying the State must prove that he was the one who published the alleged video.
Japajapa also challenged the State to prove through YouTube that it was not an edited video meant to tarnish him.
But Muchuchuti-Guwuriro found him guilty, saying it was not disputed that he was at the crime scene when the alleged offence was committed.

Japajapa, who is out of custody on ZW$100 bail, has been awaiting his sentencing which has been postponed on several occasions.

The court heard that on July 31 2018, Japajapa held a Press conference at a time election results were being announced by Zec and threatened to call for chaos, claiming the elections had been rigged.

Japajapa uttered the words: “If people come to rallies it means they appreciate the candidate, you cannot follow a candidate whom you cannot vote for. Zec must do the right thing by announcing the proper results. Failure to do this, as leader of a civic organisation I am going to call for chaos in the country…”

The court further heard that following the alleged incitement by Japajapa, MDC upporters violently stormed the city’s central business district in protest, leading to the destruction of property whose value is yet to be ascertained.