HARARE – National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe leader Sten Zvorwadza was hauled before the courts yesterday for allegedly insulting President Robert Mugabe.
He was charged in connection with remarks he made in an interview with the Daily News in response to an edict issued by Mugabe ordering vendors off the streets of the Harare CBD.
Zvorwadza described the 93-year-old leader as a “dead man walking” and said he was “daydreaming” that vendors must be driven off the streets.
Zvorwadza was charged with undermining authority of or insulting the president when he appeared before Harare magistrate Josephine Sande.
He pleaded for reduction of the suggested bail quantum of $500 to $100 saying his paraffin sales business realised only $200 per month.
“The accused person is a vendor by profession who sells paraffin and realises an average of $200 per month. Ordering him to pay $500 will be tantamount to denying him bail as it would be beyond his means,” Zvorwadza’s lawyer Jeremiah Bamu said.
“We also wish to put the State on notice of an application challenging placement on remand and encourage that they refer to the decision of the case of State and Douglas Mwonzora for guidance.”
Sande allowed Zvorwadza to deposit $200 before remanding the matter to November 16 pending trial.
Zvorwadza told the Daily News: “As the informal sector, we will not listen to such nonsense; we are going to stay in the streets. He is daydreaming. I bet with my head, the president has no capacity to remove vendors from the streets.
“He must depart from this issue of daydreaming. Mugabe must appreciate the role of the informal sector. Zimbabweans must understand that Mugabe is old and he is a dead man walking.”
According to the State, Zvorwadza’s statement was meant to advise readers that Mugabe has no capacity to initiate policies for the country’s development and likened him to a dead person to reflect his hatred towards the president.
It was further alleged that Zvorwadza wanted to incite resistance against government policy by vendors and cause hatred, contempt or ridicule towards Mugabe.
Meanwhile, another Harare man who shouted in a kombi that Mugabe was too old and incapacitated was also charged with insulting the president.
He was granted $30 bail by magistrate Sande.
The State alleged that on October 10, Abraham Rukwava boarded a commuter omnibus from Harare city centre to Kuwadzana.
Among the passengers was a police officer in uniform and a member of the State security agency.
Rukwava was drunk and started shouting: “Mutungamiri wenyika ino achembera haachakwanisa kuita chinhu muno munyika” (the president of this country is too old and unable to do anything in this country).)
The cop and security agent tried to restrain Rukwava but he allegedly did not take heed and continued repeating the sentiments.
When Rukwava was disembarking from the commuter omnibus, he was immediately arrested.