A man who caused a traffic jam in central Harare during a lone anti-government protest has been spared jail. Itai Makombe stood on top of his vehicle at the intersection of Josiah Tongogara and Sam Nujoma Street in Harare and shouted that spirits were rising up, apparently against Zimbabwe’s rulers.
Police arrived and assaulted him before taking him and his vehicle away.
On Thursday, Harare magistrate Simon Kandiyero sentenced Makombe to six months imprisonment after convicting him of disorderly conduct. The magistrate suspended two months on condition of good behaviour.
Kandireyo was ordered to perform 140 hours of community service at Chinhoyi Police Station for the remaining four months of his sentence.
On the second count of unlawful possession of a firearm, he was fined US$200.
Makombe has been languishing in jail for close to a month after he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and unlawful possession of a firearm.
When he pleaded guilty, he told the court that his actions were caused by stress because of his ongoing divorce from his wife.
The magistrate had directed that he should be examined by two state doctors to check his mental health. The doctors said he was of sound mind.
Magistrate Kandiyero said: “The accused is indeed a first time offender. He also saved the court’s time by pleading guilty. He is self-employed and a male adult.
“However, the court does not condone such behaviour. As the country is in the election season, the accused person’s behaviour might be construed as political.
“A fine would have been appropriate, however there is a need to send a message to the community that the court does not condone such actions.”
The court was told that Makombe, who was playing a drum while seated on the canopy of his 4×4 vehicle, shouted: “Nehanda amuka, ropa ririkudeuka, rinogara richideuka.”
Following his arrest, Makombe allegedly told police that he had a firearm in his possession. Police recovered it and discovered that his gun licence had expired.
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