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Chamisa's UK activist jailed 13 years for terrorism

by Staff reporter
17 Dec 2022 at 12:10hrs | Views
A CCC activists based in the United Kingdom has been jailed for three years for inciting public violence using his Facebook page.

William Chinyanga was convicted last month on two of the four charges of "encouraging terrorism" after he called for the overthrow of the Zimbabwean Government in a series of speeches live-streamed on Facebook.

The Kingston Crown Court yesterday sentenced Chinyanga to three years in prison and an extended licence period of one year.

While its activist has been jailed for encouraging terrorism while in the UK, the CCC and opposition activist Hopewell Chin'ono, always accuse police of political persecution when people are arrested for inciting violence on social media.

Presently, a CCC top official and Zengeza West legislator Job Sikhala, is facing almost similar charges but they accuse police of unfairness.

In its changing forms from the united MDC, the CCC rides on inciting public violence ahead of regional and international summits to provoke international debates on Zimbabwe, to justify the maintenance of illegal sanctions.

In the latest case, Sikhala perfectly planned to destabilise Zimbabwe's foreign policy when Rwanda was scheduled to host the Commonwealth Heads of State and Government Meeting, where issues of Harare's readmission into the bloc were set to feature.

Sikhala is jointly charged with fellow party member and Chitungwiza North legislator, Godfrey Sithole, on charges of inciting public violence in the Nyatsime area of Chitungwiza following the killing of Moreblessing Ali by her former boyfriend, Pious Jamba.

Sikhala, Sithole and other CCC activists had falsely claimed that Ali had been killed by Zanu-PF supporters, resulting in massive violence in the area supposedly to avenge the killing.

According to British media, Commander Richard Smith, who leads the Met's Counter Terrorism Command, said: "It was a report from a member of the public that brought Chinyanga's speeches to the attention of police. That person did the right thing, and this case shows that we will follow up on all reports and take action when needed.

"We would strongly urge anyone who sees anything online which promotes terrorism to report it to police.

"Chinyanga sought to reach as wide an audience as possible when he took to social media to encourage violent action against the current government in his native Zimbabwe. Dangerous rhetoric of this nature can and does have harmful real-world consequences."

Chinyanga, (51) an Archway supply teacher was charged 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.

About a month ago, Chinyanga bemoaned lack of assistance from CCC circles, including leader Nelson Chamisa, whom he says blocked his number.

"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 (and) the ruling party of Zimbabwe.

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

Source - The Herald