A ZIMBABWEAN man from Chegutu has been sent to prison for four months after sending abusive text messages to Commissioner General of Police Augustine Chihuri and Zanu-PF parliamentary candidate for Chegutu West Dexter Nduna upon acquiring their contact mobile numbers from faceless Facebook character Baba Jukwa.
Josiah Mahovoya (38) was arrested a day after sending the unprintable vulgar messages to Chihuri and Nduna.
Magistrate Ms Marehwanazvo Gofa yesterday convicted Mahovoya on two counts of contravening the PTC Act, which criminalises “sending an offensive and indecent telephone message”.
On the first count, Mahovoya was sentenced to six months in prison and two months were suspended n condition of good behaviour.
On the second count, Ms Gofa sentenced him to six months behind bars before setting aside two months on the same condition.
Both sentences are to run concurrently.
In passing the sentence, Ms Gofa said the superiors should be given the respect they deserve.
“The accused person committed a very serious offence by insulting those in the higher offices. The manner in which he committed the offence shows premeditation.
“It also contributes to public violence through inciting people to engage in violence activities. The court should be found sending the right message to the accused and would-be offenders,” she said.
In aggravation, prosecutor Ms Patience Chimusaru urged the court to give Mahovoya a custodial sentence.
She said Mahovoya, as an adult and a family man, fully appreciates the repercussion of committing an offence.
“He is a first offender who has started swimming at the deep end of the pool and it is no doubt that if someone starts from the deep end, he will definitely sink,” she said.
In mitigation Mahovoya pleaded for the court’s leniency arguing that he committed the offence under the influence of alcohol.
He said that he sent the messages to the pair as per Baba Jukwa’s orders on Facebook.
On 24 July, around 10pm, Mahovoya who was using a Netone mobile line, sent insulting, offensive and obscene messages to Chihuri and Nduna.
Mahovoya was arrested the next day and upon going through his phone messages, police detectives found the offensive messages still in his sent items box.