Zvikomborero Parafini, Court Reporter
The Zimdancehall trio that organised an illegal gathering on New Year’s Eve was on Tuesday convicted on their own plea.
The trio of music promoter Simbarashe Chanachimwe also known as Dhama, and producers Arnold Kamudyariwa (Fantan) and Tafadzwa Kadzimwe (Levels) pleaded guilty before Harare provincial head magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti-Guwuriro.
FANTAN at Harare Magistrates’ Court
The trio was remanded in custody to today for sentencing.
In mitigation, Tafadzwa Hungwe, representing Chanachimwe said he is a youthful offender and youthful offenders should be kept as far from prison as possible.
THE New Year’s eve gathering
“Accused person is 27 years old, he is married and has two children, he resides at Block14 C20 Matapi Flats in Mbare and he is self employed as a cellphone dealer.
“He is the breadwinner of his family and he is a youthful offender, this is the first conviction in his lifetime and the courts in the past have treated youthful offenders with leniency in sentencing them to ensure that they stay as far from prison as possible as this will expose them to hardened criminals.
“Pleading guilty is a sign of remorse, he siding waste the courts time and should benefit from that positive act, he organizes what was supposed to be an online event to stream a show with people less than 50 people for the benefit of his social media users and during the streaming unbeknown and unforeseen to him, neighbours crowded the venue.
“There was no cover charge because it wasn’t anticipated, there was no security as it was meant to be an online event because of the large crowds it became an illegal gathering in terms of the statute, there was no intention of hosting a super spreader event.
“the setting of the event was an open air area is a high density location, he didn’t lock and gate and didn’t have the resources to disperse the crowds, the Statutory instrument in question is still new and the sentencing trends aren’t available, but he is a suitable candidate for a fine and suspended sentence and if the court pleases community service at an institution, he is capable of paying a fine not exceeding $30 000, he appreciates the maximum is $400 000 but it’s not within his financial means,” he said.
Dumisani Mtombeni appeared on behalf of Levels and Fantan and told the court that the duo is hoping to start working on Covid-19 awareness programs if the court pardons them.
“The duo of producers are young offenders and are breadwinners, they have no savings at the bank or at home, Kamudyariwa (Fantan) represents the struggling ghetto youths in Zimbabwe, he is the face of the ghetto youths in Mbare and has tried to earn a living on honest means and contrary to social media reports, he wasn’t on the run he handed himself over to the police on Saturday and when he went back on Sunday that was when he was arrested.
“The two have no fixed income and are dependent on shows and recording artists even though most of the ghetto youths cannot afford to pay and record for free, they have played a positive role in the community and are a symbol of hope to their peers by encouraging their peers to abstain from criminal activities.
“They have lived crimeless lives, they cooperated well with the police and intend to be Covid19 ambassadors and raise awareness about the pandemic, it would be injustice to condemn the trio into a custodial sentence,” he said.
In aggravation State counsel Micheal Reza argued that the three must be sentenced to at least a year coupled with a $400 000 fine because 774 new cases were recorded after the show.