Zimbabwe: Four Harare Men Jailed for Defying Lockdown

Four Harare men, who were nabbed Tuesday in Mbare for defying the 21-day national lockdown imposed to stem the spread of COVID-19, have appeared in court and were each jailed for three months with an option of paying $500 in fines.

Edmore Muwadzi, 38, and Tendai Mabota, 32, of Waterfalls, Amos Rutsvara, 23, of Mbare and Shingirirai Kuimba, 33, of Chitungwiza were arrested at the popular Magaba Complex while touting for customers.

The four appeared before magistrate Victoria Mashama charged with failure to comply with Statutory Instrument 83 of 2020.

SI 83 of 2020 stipulates on Section 4 (1)(a) that people should stay at their homes for 21 days beginning March 31 to 19 April as part of the national lockdown to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

In passing the sentence, Mashama said the quartet deserved to be punished for disobeying President Emmerson Mnangagwa's directive.

She said failure to pay the $500 immediately would result in them spending three months in jail.

"The court has taken into account that you are family men and first time offenders but it remains a fact that you failed to comply with the President's directive to stay at home for 21 days. As a way of teaching you to abide, I will not give you grace period to pay. You are hereby ordered to pay $500 each forthwith or face three months imprisonment."

Prosecutor, Peter Kachirika told the court that on April 7, police officers were on patrol around Magaba Complex in Mbare enforcing the 21-day lockdown.

The officers observed the four, who are middlemen for shop owners, touting for customers. They surrounded a car while negotiating with the driver who intended to buy from the complex.

However, on seeing the police, the motorist drove away and police arrested the four touts.

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