Mayor's driver fined $400 over assault

MUTARE - Kingstone Mutandi, the Mutare mayor’s driver, has been fined $400 and a wholly suspended 6-month jail term for assaulting a fellow MDC councillor in the run-up to last year’s general polls.

In passing judgment, magistrate Noah Gwatidzo said he had settled for a punitive monetary sentence as a jail term would have “completely shattered” his social life.

Magistrate Gwatidzo said the court expressed leniency as Mutandi was a first time offender who was employed and had shown remorse by making an effort to even reconcile with his victim.

This brought the political violence case, which had also involved former Housing and Social Amenities minister Giles Mutsekwa, embattled Mutare Mayor Tatenda Nhamarare and Mutandi’s sibling Raphael —  who were all acquitted — to a close.

Mutandi assaulted Councillor Crispen Dube in the run-up to last year’s harmonised elections as the two were backing different horses in the race for Dangamvura-Chikanga constituency.

Mutsekwa was squaring off with human rights lawyer-cum-politician Arnold Tsunga.

The magistrate told Mutandi that there was “a real prospect that you will reform” but wondered whether there was any basis for his violent behaviour which could have been resolved peacefully.

“It is my speculative assumption that you could have settled your disagreements peacefully,” Magistrate Gwatidzo said.

Immediately after the judgment was passed, a number of MDC members who were sympathtic to Dube walked out, shaking their heads in apparent disagreement to the sentence.

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