HARARE – A Chinhoyi magistrate has referred to the Supreme Court the case of four MDC officials accused of labelling President Robert Mugabe a thief.
The four Eddy Ndirayire, Abel Kasure, Luxmore Zintambila and Gabriel Japan are accused of undermining the authority and insulting the President as defined in Section 33 (2) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
They are challenging the constitutionality of the law used to charge them.
Ndirayire is MDC Mashonaland West Province deputy chairperson and Japan is Hurungwe North District youth organising secretary while Zintambila and Kasure are ward secretary and treasurer respectively.
Tawanda Zhuwarara and Jeremiah Bamu of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights are representing the four.
Prosecutors say the four labelled Mugabe a thief “with the knowledge or realising that there was a real risk or possibility that the statement is false and that it may engender feeling of hostility towards or cause hatred, contempt or ridicule of the President”.
Several people including top MDC officials such as the party’s treasurer general Elton Mangoma, spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora and MP Lynette Karenyi have been hauled before the courts to answer charges of insulting the name of the president.
Mwonzora is accused of calling Mugabe a goblin while Karenyi allegedly told supporters that the 88-year-old was a homosexual.
Mwonzora is challenging the constitutionality of the law in the Supreme Court, arguing that it gives unfair advantage to a sitting president who is shielded from scrutiny by political rivals. – Mugove Tafirenyika