MDC Alliance aspiring legislator for Bulawayo South, Kunashe Muchemwa, has been issued with a warrant of arrest after failing to turn up in court for sentencing following his conviction over public violence charges.
Muchemwa, who is not new to controversy following his previous public violence arrests, was scheduled to appear at the Bulawayo Magistrates Court on Wednesday for sentencing following the violent MDC-T intra-party skirmishes in Bulawayo in March.
Magistrate Sithembile Ncube on Friday convicted Muchemwa alongside three other party members — councillor Mlandu Ncube, Felix Mhaka and Erick Gono — for leading the violent acts against breakaway MDC-T leader Thokozani Khupe four months ago.
Gono and Mhaka are aspiring MDC Alliance local government candidates.
Muchemwa’s lawyer, Prince Butshe Dube, of Mathonsi Ncube Law Chambers, professed ignorance about his client’s whereabouts in court, resulting in the magistrate issuing an arrest warrant against the aspiring lawmaker.
“I was expecting him here for the sentence, but I am not sure of his whereabouts,” Dube told the court.
The magistrate postponed the sentencing to July 23.
Muchemwa is contesting the Bulawayo South seat alongside 15 others, including another MDC Alliance candidate Francis Muvirimi Mangwendeza.
Muchemwa and 12 others, including Bulawayo deputy mayor Gift Banda, were arrested after violence broke out at the MDC-T Bulawayo office as Khupe and MDC Alliance supporters fought for control of the party’s offices in the city following the death of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Eight others have been acquitted.
The breakaway MDC-T Khupe faction was at the time in control of the party offices.
Khupe’s personal assistant, Witness Dube, suffered a deep cut to his head during the skirmishes, while several others from both camps were left nursing injuries.
In 2014, Muchemwa was arrested along with five other MDC-T members facing robbery and theft charges after they allegedly hijacked a vehicle belonging to then Matabeleland North party provincial chairman Sengezo Tshabangu, whom they accused of being a member of the MDC-T’s Renewal team.
The MDC-T Renewal team, then led by Tendai Biti, had at the time severed ties with Tsvangirai’s MDC-T, leading to a fight over party offices and property.