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ZUPCO bus burners jailed 7 years

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Hooligans who participated in the violence that resulted in the burning of a ZUPCO bus, a vehicle and looting of groceries have been jailed.

This is one of the first groups to be sentenced at the Harare Magistrates Court on charges of public violence that rocked the nation starting on the 14th of January.

The ring leader Emmanuel Chari who orchestrated the violence that occurred along the Bulawayo highway has been sentenced to 7 years, but will serve an effective 6-year jail term.

The other five convicted persons have been sentenced to five years but one year was suspended on condition they will not commit similar offences in the next five years.

In passing his sentence, Harare Regional Magistrate Mr Elijah Makomo said public violence is a serious offence and only a custodial sentence will send a message to would be offenders.

Two others who were jointly charged with the six who have been sentenced were acquitted for lack of incriminating evidence.

The ring leader Chari ordered the driver of the ZUPCO bus together with the passengers to disembark before diving onto the steering wheel and drove the bus for about 40 metres.

While he was driving the bus, the accomplices were cheering him.

The group then burnt the bus.

They proceeded to burn a vehicle which was parked at a service station belonging to former Minister Webster Shamu and looted groceries.

Meanwhile, the trial for the 61 accused persons who allegedly participated in the violence that occurred in Epworth continued with the officer in charge testifying.

There are 18 witnesses who have been lined up to testify in this matter and the officer in charge is the first witness.