Six who were part of a gang that burnt a Zupco bus and a vehicle belonging to Chegutu East legislator Webster Shamu's wife during recent protests that rocked Harare and other cities -- organised by the opposition MDC-Alliance and foreign funded civil society organisations -- have been jailed a collective 36 years.
Harare magistrate Mr Elijah Makomo last Friday ruled that the criminals deserved a stiffer penalty as they faced a serious offence. Mr Makomo said demonstrations were a right, but violating the rights of other citizens was unlawful.
Ring leader Emmanuel Chari (25) was sentenced to seven years behind bars but will serve an effective six years after Mr Makomo set aside a year. Chari drove the Zupco bus to a place where it was then set on fire.
His accomplices Miston Siriva (30), Charles Bengeza (28), Shylock Chihuri (25), Noleen Dulana (29) and a Rumbidzai Dulana (25) were jailed six years each.
When they initially appeared in court they were eight but two of them-Cassim Muzhingi and Benson Bhobho were acquitted due to lack of evidence linking them to the offence.
In aggravation, prosecutor Mr George Manokore called for a stiffer penalty saying there was need to deter like-minded people.