National Vendors Union chairman Stendrick Zvorwadza yesterday appeared in court for threatening to burn down Rainbow Towers Hotel during a demonstration against Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko’s continued stay at the five-star hotel.
Zvorwadza (47) appeared before Harare magistrate Mr Vakayi Chikwekwe facing threats to commit malicious damage to property. He was remanded to July 13 for trial.
Through his lawyer Mr Marufu Mandevere, Zvorwadza complained against the police.
He said: “Accused was not properly advised of charges he was facing upon his arrest. He was only advised in the afternoon after being arrested in the morning.
“He was not allowed to have blankets in the cells and spent the whole night with only one blanket, which he used as a mat.
“It was very cold. However, he was allowed to have his shoes.”
The prosecutor Mr Sebastian Mutizirwa did not oppose bail and Zvorwadza was remanded on $200 bail.
As part of his bail conditions, he was ordered not to visit Rainbow Towers Hotel.
The court heard that Zvorwadza walked towards the foyer and shouted that he had come to have his breakfast.
Hotel management informed the police of Zvorwadza’s behaviour. Police officers attended the scene and ordered Zvorwadza out of the hotel and he shouted at them saying, “You police, you are disturbing my peace and abusing me. I am eating my money why you police are always after me (sic)?”
It is alleged that he resisted arrest and closed the hotel’s main entrance doors from inside and ordered police officers to leave the premises.
He told them that they wanted to demonstrate peacefully because it was their constitutional right.
It is alleged that Zvorwadza started shouting at the top of his voice that VP Mphoko had to immediately check out of the hotel because he was using taxpayers’ money.
The court heard that Zvorwadza also said VP Mphoko was refusing to stay in a house that Government bought him for $3 million.
Zvorwadza allegedly gave the hotel up to July 1 to ensure that VP Mphoko vacates the hotel. He said that failure to do so he would allegedly mobilise his members in their thousands to demonstrate and declare the hotel closed.
He said they would do anything to tarnish the image of the hotel and burn it down, the court heard. herald