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Chamisa's activist faces 10 years in UK jail

by Staff reporter
18 Nov 2022 at 05:05hrs | Views
CCC has been left with egg on its face after a United Kingdom-based activist was convicted for inciting public violence in Zimbabwe, a charge the party wants to take lightly in Zimbabwe, and now faces a potential 10-year jail term.

William Chinyanga was found guilty in two of the four charges of "encouraging terrorism" for calling for the violent overthrow of the Zimbabwean Government in a series of speeches live-streamed on Facebook.

Online media platforms are awash with the case of Chinyanga (51), an Archway supply teacher being accused of encouraging bombings in Zimbabwe in four speeches to 7 000 followers on social media over two days in December 2019.

The UK jury found him guilty in two of the four counts levelled against him.

Chinyanga complained about the lack of assistance from CCC circles, including leader Nelson Chamisa, whom he said blocked his number, compared with the sort of assistance that Job Sikhala is getting for his Zimbabwean trial on similar charges.

"CCC has never offered their support for me during these trying times, they are only concerned about Job Sikhala," he said.

Chinyanga lived with his wife and children in Archway, north London, and worked as a part-time supply teacher in Ruislip, West London.

According to British media, Prosecutor Sean Larkin told jurors: "Chinyanga was a long-standing opponent of the Zimbabwe regime. He had made speeches both before and after those speeches.

"Although you will consider these speeches separately, taking them in the round, in the course of these speeches he encouraged his followers to bomb the headquarters of Zanu-PF, the ruling party of Zimbabwe.

"He encouraged followers to bomb the motorcade of the leader of Zanu-PF; to bomb petrol stations, it seems with a view to disrupt the economy and bring about revolution; to attack police officers in their cars; to attack soldiers; and he encouraged his followers to share his speeches with others."

Following his initial arrest, Chinyanga admitted that he made a speech and that he wanted to overthrow and replace the government of Zimbabwe, jurors heard.

In the course of the investigation, police became aware of the other speeches, and he was arrested again and answered no comment in a second interview.

Mr Larkin said: "The prosecution case is he went far beyond legitimate complaint or protest against the Government and committed the offence for which he is charged.

"When he made those four speeches he intended or was reckless as to whether members of the public were being encouraged or otherwise induced to commit, prepare or instigate acts of terrorism."

Most countries take a very dim view of incitement of violence and jail terms are common, despite what some CCC leaders say in Zimbabwe.

CCC has been accused of inciting public violence ahead of international summits to provoke and generate negative news against the Government.

In the case of CCC deputy national chairperson Job Sikhala, the opposition party has been trying to arm-twist the judiciary and have bail granted before his trial. He has had his bail applications rejected by magistrates and High Court judges over his past record of activity while on bail for other charges.

Sikhala is jointly charged with fellow party member Godfrey Sithole and their trial opened this week at Harare Magistrates Court on charges of inciting public violence in the Nyatsime area in Chitungwiza.

They initially appeared in court in June this year soon after the violence that left properties including buildings and vehicles damaged across Nyatsime area.

Sikhala and Sithole are alleged to have posted videos and then hired lorries to ferry people to Nyatsime, following the death of Ms Moreblessing Ali, whom they claimed to be one of their party supporters.

Source - The Herald