National Vendors Union (Navuz) leader Sten Zvorwadza staged a dramatic plea for a postponement of his cases when he stormed the courtroom with his luggage and an air ticket for a flight that was due to depart at 12pm yesterday.
Zvorwadza surprised Harare magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti around 11am when he appeared for continuation of trial on a disorderly conduct charge. He said he risked missing the flight.
“Your worship I am between a rock and a hard place. I booked this flight way back and have been trying to cancel after I realised that it coincided with two of my court cases. However, I failed to cancel and am supposed to travel to South Africa,” Zvorwadza said, waving his ticket for the prosecutor to see.
“As we speak, others are already checking-in at Harare International Airport and if the court would allow me to travel, I will be available on Thursday.”
Muchuchuti granted the postponement to December 5 after considering that he was also supposed to appear in another court later that afternoon for trial on charges of threatening to burn a Harare hotel.
On the disorderly conduct case, the complainant is the State represented by Tanyanyiwa Mangena, 38, a police officer at Criminal Investigations Department, Vehicle Theft Squad (VTS) in Southerton in Harare.
It is alleged that on January 9, 2013, Zvorwadza went to VTS for re-recording of a statement on a case that he had reported at that police station.
The court heard that Zvorwadza was advised to wait by the reception since the officer was committed to another witness.
However, Zvorwadza decided to wait by the corridor and was approached by Mangena who told him to go and sit by the reception
It is alleged that Zvorwadza became “angry, violent, abusive and insulting”, allegedly intending to disrupt peace at the station.
Zvorwadza then allegedly threatened Mangena saying: “If you are a bouncer go to PGHQ (police general headquarters) and arrest deputy commissioner-general Matibiri for stealing my motor vehicle.”
According to the State outline, Zvorwadza had no right to behave in such a manner.
It is further alleged that on June 26, Zvorwadza was in the company of three suspected journalists at a five-star hotel in Harare and four other accomplices who are still at large.
The court heard that they were in possession of video cameras when Zvorwadza took a seat in the foyer and began shouting that he wanted to have breakfast.
Hotel management informed the police about Zvorwadza’s conduct before he was ordered to leave the hotel.
Zvorwadza reportedly refused to leave the hotel and instead started shouting while allegedly resisting arrest: “You police are always disturbing my peace and abusing me. I am eating my money but you are after me.”
It was further alleged that Zvorwadza closed the main entrance from inside and demanded that police officers leave the hotel to pave way for their demonstration, arguing it was their constitutional right.