Renowned author Tsitsi Dangarembga to appeal against conviction and sentence

Tsitsi Dangarembgwa


WORLD acclaimed author, Tsitsi Dangarembga and her co-accused, Julie Barnes will appeal against their conviction and sentence after being found guilty of inciting public violence following their staging of a peaceful demonstration in Harare’s leafy suburb of Borrowdale.

They were handed a wholly suspended six months jail term and ordered to pay ZW$70 000 fine each.

Dangarembga told Zimbabwe Observer that she shall be filing an appeal.

“They have given a verdict. I will appeal,” said Dangarembga.

Magistrate Barbra Mateko convicted Dangarembga and Barnes following a full trial.

In passing sentence, Mateko averred the court had taken into account that the convicted were first female offenders and that the two never had any brush with the law before.

Dangarembga and a colleague Julie Barnes waving placards on the day they were arrested

“It is trite at law that the elderly should be treated with leniency. Evidence tendered shows they are elderly and of ill health. At the time of the trial they came to court consistently up to the time the court handed down its judgement.

“The first accused has contributed in education and development of the country. The court has also found that now convicted, at the time they committed the offence they acted out of ignorance. If ever you are to proceed in a particular way you should know the procedure.

“The court is of the view the two should be given a chance to reform. A custodial sentence will be too harsh since the offence was not done in aggravating circumstances. A fine and suspended sentence is appropriate in ZW$70 000. Six months wholly suspended on condition they do not commit a similar offence,” said the magistrate.

The duo was facing charges of inciting public violence following a peaceful demonstration they conducted during the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020.

The two were represented by Chris Mhike.

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