Gwisai Convicted On Charges of Conspiracy to Commit Violence
But the firebrand socialist and his co-accused were allowed to go home pending mitigation this (Tuesday) morning.
Despite the guilty verdict, Gwisai remained defiant he will continue with “the struggle” despite an apparent jail term hanging over his head.
In his ruling, Jarabini said after assessing the evidence brought before his court by the police witnesses during the long drawn trial, he was convinced the accused indeed had connived to commit the alleged offence.
“The court arrived at the conclusion that the essential elements of conspiracy to commit a crime were satisfied and the State managed to prove its case beyond doubt,” he said to a court packed with civil society activists, friends and relatives of the accused.
“The court has found the accused guilty as charged.”
The five others are Antonater Choto, Tatenda Mombeyarara, Edson Chakuma, Hopewell Gumbo, and Welcome Zimuto.
“Aluta continua. The struggle continues!” shouted a defiant Gwisai punching the air defiantly with his fist while exiting the court building.
“It (verdict) is not surprising. It is not surprising. But as we say, we are not deterred. We are not intimidated.
“To the ordinary people this is not surprising. This is the staple of what has been happening in Africa and across the world so we take it as it comes. The struggle continues. Aluta continua!”
“No regrets!” Gwisai retorted when asked if he had any regrets on having taken part in a gathering that landed him in trouble.
“We will issue a statement tomorrow after we finalise our address in mitigation and the magistrate gives his position,” said the country’s general co-ordinator for International Socialist Organisation (ISO), a socialist group.
His co-accused also sang the same tune insisting the verdict was arrived at through intense political influence.
“The struggle continues. We are in together. We need your support,” said Choto.
Jarabini gave his ruling on Monday afternoon after it took him less than a minute of appearing in court the same morning to adjourn the proceedings to 3pm.
When court reconvened as scheduled, dozens of anti-riot police were now manning both the inside and surroundings of the court building in anticipation of violence.
MDC-T’s Douglas Mwonzora, PTUZ’s Raymond Majongwe and the NCA’s Lovemore Madhuku were among some of the noticeable faces that formed the packed gallery.
Gwisai was arrested together with 44 others after watching video footages of revolutions that took place in Egypt and Tunisia leading to the deposition of long-serving leaders in those countries.
The state alleged the group intended to use the video footages to mobilise the people to revolt against the government and demand the resignation of the President Robert Mugabe.
The state later dropped the treason charges against the other 39 in March last year leaving Gwisai and five others, to answer to charges of inciting public violence.