At least 375 people were convicted following violent protests that rocked the country from January 14 to 16 this year, the Zim Morning Post can exclusively reveal.
Documents which reveal a summary of convictions seen by this publication show that out of 375 convictions 225 are in Bulawayo, 69 in Harare, Mashonaland West (27), Mashonaland Central (14), Manicaland (19), while Masvingo had no convictions.
The documents also show that only 8 people were sentenced to 8 years in prison, six people were caged for 6 years, 40 people were imprisoned for four years each while 92 people will serve one-year jail terms.
Zimbabweans have expressed mixed feelings over the list of people who were convicted over the violent shutdown protest that took place all over the country in January.
About 1055 people were arrested all over the country during the protest which were led by ZCTU President Peter Mutasa and This Flag Movement Leader Evan Mawarire.
This development has been condemned by the civil society who described the arrests as unjustifiable.
Yields of Love Trust(YOLT) an organization that cares for the plight of those who were convicted for perceived political ambitions described the arrests as ‘laughable’.
Addressing journalists in Bulawayo, the second capital city, the founder and projects director Stanford Gezi lambasted the authorities’ decision .
“This clearly shows the government is throwing democracy through the window.
“The protestors were peacefully demonstrating against unjustified fuel hikes and general cost of living and they were simply exercising their democratic right.
“This is grossly unfair and President Mnangagwa must act fast to avoid anarchy,” said the outspoken Gezi.
Some of the twitter comments are as follows:
Popular twitter shadowy character Matigari said: “How is the shutdown working out for those excitable fellas now? “8 people were sentenced to 8 yrs in prison, 6 were caged for 6 yrs, 40 people for 4 yrs each while 92 will serve 1 yr jail terms”
Norman Schon said “(Bulawayo – 225, Harare – 69 Convictions) A story within a story, picture that!”
Dexter Zvirevo said “Good News”
Retired slay Queen said “Next time havazviite futi” meaning people will not repeat the protest
Whilst Gladman Attitude Magigwani replied Retired Slay Queen saying
“unotanba slay queen nekurikuenda zvinhu right now i see more and more riots ini” meaning you are joking with the current economic situation more protest are going to be witnessed
Pikisani R Vuma “Bulawayo!” meaning he was being surprised with the number of people that were convicted in Bulawayo than other cities.
Demitrius Banda said “So two thirds of those arrested have been acquitted?”
Bongani Prynce Madlala expressed dissatisfaction with the convictions “Convict more please”
Trevor Shiri “Havazvipamhe futi” meaning they will not repeat the protests again.”
Logan Chasi expressed disappointment with the judgement and thought it was unfair:
“Hwende (Charlton Hwende MDC legislator who is accused of starting the protest) the agitator vakangonzi chimbomirai kushandisa Twitter, he is having his rich breakfast every morning rimwe team richitsvura bota nezvigunwe every morning”
Cha expressed the convictions as form of oppression “they are being sentenced by the gvt (government of Zimbabwe) they were protesting against …..cry my beloved nation”
Jewels blamed politicians and organisers of the protest for benefiting from the protest at the expense of the protesters
“Cashvist got paid, Chamisa distanced himself like he wasn’t a part of it. Hwende is busy deleting tweets and denying his account. Kuitiswa ndokuziva ini..”
Soul Phiri “Pavachazobuda mujeri, dumbu raHwende rinenge rakura kupfuura zvariri nekuguta, Zanu inenenge ichiri kutonga, Chamisa anenge achingoti godisinit akangomirira to show the world his V11’s which are in a safe place. Jecha rese rinenge ravaka Zimbabwe rekudira panenge pasisina.”
Elton expressed disappointment on the impact the protest made to the economy “They really did a big damage to our economy. Jobs were lost, property damaged. At the end we say hakuna mabasa.”
Tidzo “It’s a shame. And names have already been forgotten or were never acknowledged at all. Now they face a minimum of 12 months of terrible Zimbabwe prison conditions; probable rape and verbal abuse, plus a criminal record. It’s important to think before we act.”
Wenera Netara blamed Evan Mawarire for not spelling out correctly the purpose of the protest resulting in people committing crimes.
“Pastor Evan Mawarire this is the result of a shut down that rides on people’s emotions. The objectives were not spelt out hence some in your name(s) committed crime n are behind bars. What You say?”
Wellington Monda said this was normal in every war. “Expect that in any struggle, even our leaders were incarcerated for years because they wanted to free their people.”
Breezy Geek1 said “They deserve it”