Pro-democracy campaigner acquitted over shutdown protest

By Staff Writer

GWANDA – A ZIMBABWEAN court on Tuesday 5 February 2019 ended the lengthy
detention in prison of prominent pro-democracy campaigner
Kukhanyakwenkosi Mnkandla, who was arrested last month and charged with
public violence over the anti-government demonstrations held across
the country.

The 34-year-old Mnkandla was arrested on 17 January 2019 by Zimbabwe
Republic Police (ZRP) officers in Gwanda in Matabeleland South
province and charged with public violence as defined in section
36(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act or
alternatively for malicious damage to property as defined in section
140 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

During trial, which was presided over by Magistrate Nomagugu Ncube,
prosecutors claimed that Mnkandla, a film maker, forcibly disturbed the
peace, security or order of the public by going on a rampage
destroying property and in the process stoning ZANU PF provincial
headquarters offices and damaging four window panes and uprooted a
sign post at the ruling party’s offices.

But Magistrate Ncube on Tuesday 5 February acquitted Mkandla, who was
represented by Mehluli Dube of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
(ZLHR), after ruling that there were several inconsistencies in the
evidence led by the state from its witnesses during the human rights
activist’s trial.

Meanwhile, the trial of Nkanyiso Ncube, another Gwanda resident on
public violence charges continued at Gwanda Magistrates Court on
Wednesday 6 February 2019, where he is also facing charges of
obstructing or endangering free movement of persons or traffic as
defined in section 38(c) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform)
Act.

Prosecutors claim that Ncube burnt some tyres and placed them on the
tarmac and blocked traffic and the free movement of persons, thereby
endangering people or traffic using the road.

Kukhanyakwenkosi Mnkandla was born on 28 march 1984. He got injured at 16 years while doing Form 4 at Mzingwane High School in 2000. He was hit by a bus.

The family bought him a prosthesis limb some time ago but its now old and uncomfortable. He is a young man who loves to express himself and recently he held two one-man demonstrations in Gwanda and he was protesting against the current economic hardship.

Kukhanya studied Film production and he has been working with a local Arts group Jahunda Community Arts. Where he is a choreographer. He would like to fund raise to buy an artificial limb. The artificial limb will help Kukhanya’s move around more freely and with easy because he is someone who is outgoing and likes to do things on his on.