High Court Ends Muthombeni’s Week-Long Detention over Anti-Mnangagwa Slur as Opposition Councillor is Charged Over Same Offence

HIGH Court Judge Justice Neville Wamambo on Monday 6 July 2020 ended the week-long detention of Ephraim Muthombeni, the Director of Masvingo Centre for Research Advocacy and Community Development (MACRAD), who was arrested last month and charged with undermining authority of or insulting President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Justice Wamambo set Muthombeni free after he had been denied bail onMonday 29 June 2020 by Masvingo Magistrate Mbonisi Ndlovu, who ruled that the 28 year-old MACRAD leader is a flight risk and could escape from standing trial.

In setting Muthombeni free, Justice Wamambo ordered him to pay bail amounting to RTGS$1 000 and to report once every month at Masvingo Police Station and to continue residing at his given residential address and not to interfere with witnesses until his matter is finalised.

Muthombeni, who was represented by Martin Mureri of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), was arrested by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) members on Sunday 28 June 2020 and charged with undermining authority of or insulting President Mnangagwa as defined in section 33(2)(a)(i) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

Prosecutors alleged that Muthombeni faulted President Mnangagwa during an address to some commuters, who were queuing and waiting to board a state-owned Zimbabwe United Passenger Company bus, for presiding over Zimbabwe’s agonising economic crisis and demanding that the ZANU PF party leader resigns.

Muthombeni is alleged to have uttered the words; “Murikuona kumira kwamakaita pa queue imhosva ya President E.D Mnangagwa arikukwidza ma prices e fuel achiba mari nevana vake. E.D must go,” which if loosely translated means; “You are suffering as a result of President Mnangagwa’s poor leadership and corruption committed by himself and his children and his failure to stem fuel price hikes and he should resign.”

Meanwhile, ZRP members on Monday 6 July 2020 arrested Godfrey Kurauone, the Councillor for Ward 4 in Masvingo Urban constituency and charged him with undermining authority of or insulting President Mnangagwa as defined in section 33(2)(a)(i) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

The law enforcement agents charged that the 33 year-old Kurauone accused President Mnangagwa during an address to some commuters, who were queuing and waiting to board a state-owned Zimbabwe United Passenger Company bus, of leading a corrupt administration and hence should resign.

Kurauone, who is represented by Mureri of ZLHR, is alleged to have uttered the words; “Let’s us unite and remove this corrupt government and Mnangagwa. President Mnangagwa and his criminals must go.” Kurauone is scheduled to appear at Masvingo Magistrates Court on Tuesday 7 July 2020.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights