A 48 year-old Zimbabwean authorities are intensifying their onslaught against dissent with several people across the country appearing in court answering to charges of undermining authority of or insulting President Emmerson Mnangagwa. In Shurugwi, 48 year-old Maria Mapfumo was recently arrested by some Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers, who charged her with undermining authority of or insulting President Mnangagwa in contravention of Section 33 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
In court, prosecutors accused Mapfumo of using derogatory language to insult President Mnangagwa during an altercation with Bernard Dangi, a ZANU PF Councillor under Tongogara Rural District Council in Shurugwi, wherein the 48 year-old woman allegedly stated that Dangi and President Mnangagwa were murderers who can connive to kill her husband. Mapfumo’s husband, who is employed as a teacher had been accused by Dangi of abdicating his teaching duties and engaging in political activities. Mapfumo, who was represented by Hillary Garikayi of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights(ZLHR), was also charged with criminal insult as defined in Section 95 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly impairing the dignity of Dangi.
In Hwange, Mehlo Mpala, a 42 year-old man recently appeared at Dete Magistrates Court answering to the same charge of contravening Section 33(2)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly undermining or insulting the authority of President Mnangagwa. Mpala, who is employed as a train engineer, was accused of acting unlawfully after he criticised Nyambe Mathe, a war veteran and the ZANU PF party Chairperson for Ward 16 while at Cross Dete Business Centre for wearing ZANU PF party regalia comprising of a T-shirt and a cap emblazoned with a picture of President Mnangagwa, whom the train engineer accused of causing a lot of suffering for Zimbabweans. Prosecutors alleged that Mpala told Mathe that he was wearing a good pair of shoes and trousers except for the cap and T-shirt which he said was “rubbish” stuff and that President Mnangagwa’s picture on his party regalia was not good. ZLHR lawyer Jabulani Mhlanga, who represented Mpala challenged the prosecution of the train engineer without obtaining authority to prosecute from the Prosecutor-General and he was removed from remand and the State was ordered to summon him should it still want to proceed with prosecuting him.
In Bindura, Tinotenda Majuru, a 24 year-old man is scheduled to stand trial on 12 April on the same charges of undermining authority of or insulting President Mnangagwa after he allegedly snatched beer and a ZANU PF party branded cap from another resident at Chiwaridzo Business Centre. Majuru, who is self employed as a car washer at Chiwaridzo Business Centre, was accused of using some derogatory words in criticising President Mnangagwa during an altercation with Samson Waraza. Majuru, who was granted free bail by Magistrate Samantha Dhlamini, is represented by Ernest Jena of ZLHR.
On 4 April 2022, Clapaton Redi, a 42 year-old man will be on trial at Mbare Magistrates Court on charges of undermining or insulting the authority of President Mnangagwa. Redi, who was arrested in December 2021 and is represented by Paidamoyo Saurombe of ZLHR, is accused of insulting President Mnangagwa on 14 December 2021 in Mbare high-density suburb by uttering some disparaging comments about the ruling ZANU PF leader.
In Seke, 27 year-old Leonard Mutsa Mukuya will appear at Chitungwiza Magistrates Court on 8 April 2022 answering to charges of undermining authority of or insulting President Mnangagwa as defined in Section 33 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act after he allegedly made some utterances which some law enforcement agents claimed would engender feelings of hostility towards the ZANU PF party leader. Prosecutors claim that Mukuya on 12 February 2022 and at Damview Recreational Centre in Chitungwiza unlawfully and with intent to cause hatred, contempt and ridicule towards President Mnangagwa used offensive language in criticising the country’s leader during a conversation with Takudzwa Chitiga. Mukuya, who is represented by Gift Mtisi of ZLHR, allegedly approached Chitiga, who was wearing a ZANU PF party T-shirt which had President Mnangagwa’s picture on it, and questioned him for supporting the ruling party.