OPPOSITION Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume was yesterday sentenced to four years in jail on charges of inciting public violence in 2020 by Harare magistrate Feresi Chakanyuka.
Ngarivhume will, however, serve three years without an option of a fine after a year was suspended on condition of good behaviour.
In mitigation, Ngarivhume’s lawyer Lovemore Madhuku had pleaded for a lenient sentence to allow his client to contest in the upcoming elections.
“Sending him to prison is sending an opponent of the President of Zimbabwe [Emmerson Mnangagwa] to jail. This will be bad in the eyes of the international community. He must be allowed to participate in an election,” Madhuku said.
Chakanyuka said fining Ngarivhume would trivialise the offence.
Madhuku tried to block sentencing saying he needed to refer the case to Constitutional Court because his client’s rights were violated, but his efforts were fruitless.
“We intend to make an application of the case to the Constitutional Court for use of section 192 of Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act,” Madhuku said.
“The section is unconstitutional. It infringes a number of rights. It is an irrational fringe of the right to liberty. It is an infringement of section 56 of the Constitution, the right to protection by the law.
“The court cannot continue sentencing before this is addressed. The accused is challenging the basis upon which he will be sentenced.”
The State represented by Tendai Shonhai opposed his application, dismissing it as frivolous.
“It’s common cause that after conviction sentencing follows. In this case, the reason for postponement being sought by the accused is not even necessary,” Shonhai said.
“This is a delaying tactic by the accused person. They made several applications, but not this particular one so we pray that the court proceeds to sentencing after mitigating.”
Ngarivhume was accused of inciting the public to commit public violence in July 2020