A 32-YEAR-OLD Mwenezi man, who was facing accusations of insulting President Robert Mugabe, was yesterday freed by the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) following the State’s concession that the charge preferred against him did not contain an essential element required to sustain it.
Source: ConCourt frees ‘Mugabe too old’ insult man – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 9, 2016
BY CHARLES LAITON
Fortune Makonzo had been charged with undermining the authority of or insulting the President as defined in section 33(2) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
The State had alleged that on November 11, 2011, while at National Railways Club at Rutenga Growth Point in Mwenezi, Makonzo uttered denigrating words against Mugabe, saying “he was a bastard too old to rule the country”.
Makonzo was alleged to have uttered the statement while pointing at Mugabe’s clip on television in the company of other patrons in the club.
When Makonzo appeared before a magistrate, he, through his lawyer, David Hofisi, challenged the constitutionality of the offence and the matter was referred to the highest court in the land for determination.
Yesterday, Hofisi, from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, told the full ConCourt bench, headed by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku that he had agreed with the Prosecutor General’s Office that the charge preferred against his client did not contain one of the essential elements of the alleged offence.
Chidyausiku then granted the application for permanent stay of prosecution.
“Application succeeds and an order in terms of the amendment is granted,” he said.