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Lone anti-govt protester pleads guilty

by Staff reporter
08 Jun 2023 at 09:43hrs | Views
A Harare resident, Itai Makombe (51) who was arrested while staging a one-man demo at the intersection of Sam Nujoma and Josiah Tongogara streets has pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and unlawful possession of firearm charges.

He appeared before magistrate Simon Kandiyero, Wednesday and was remanded in custody awaiting ruling.

The magistrate said he should be mentally examined.

On 5 June at intersection at Joshua Magamba Tongogara and Sam Munjoma, Makombe parked his car at the intersection and sat on a canopy before he started playing a drum shouting "Nehanda amuka, ropa ririkudeuka, rinogara richideuka."

RELATED: Anti-govt protestor charged with unlawful possession of firearm, due in court Wednesday

He later showed the police a firearm which was in his possession.

Makombe pleaded guilty to both counts and told court to treat him with leniency since he acted out of frustration as he is going through divorce with his wife.

His lawyer, Gift Mtisi said, "The accused person, as confirmed by the State, is a first offender. He is 51 years old.

"He has business interests in the country and has invested a lot of money in mining. He is a shareholder of Maisha Mine, Reistead. He has quite a number of employees who are doing artisanal mining who survive solely on him.

"He realises US$2000 per month. He is still in the first phase of investing in these mines," said Mtisi.

He added, "The accused person has been cooperating and is very remorseful for what he did.

"As regards to the second offense, the police were not even aware of the gun but he deliberately showed the police that he had a gun under a genuine belief that he thought it was licensed.

"He has been keeping this firearm with a license for the past two years. Unfortunately the license expired and he failed to know that it had expired hence he continued to keep it responsibly," said the lawyer in mitigation.

Mtisi said as someone dealing with gold and money he needs protection whenever he moves around.

"The history of the gun, it has never been used thus it shows that there was no criminal intent. "

"The accused person had gone through a divorce hence his undergoing some motions of denial and regret to what had transpired…he is pleading for the court's leniency and mercy.

"He has learnt the hard way that social problems should be managed in a better way than what he did. The family is here in support, so if the court allows him to pay a fine, he will get guidance and counselling from the family so that he does not get into criminality,' pleaded the lawyer.

Makombe is a father of two.

In his judgement the magistrate said Makombe's utterances do not directly reflect with his life or struggle.

"It is only prudent for the court to proceed when it is satisfied that the accused person is mentally sound.  Therefore the court will proceed under section 28 of the Mental Health Act,' said the magistrate.

He ordered that he be examined by two state doctors before a ruling can be made.

Makombe will be back in court on June 21 for ruling.

Source - NewZimbabwe
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