MUTARE magistrate Langton Mukwengi on Tuesday granted an application for an exception to the charge made by Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) activist, Clemence Marabada, who was facing a charge of undermining the authority of President Robert Mugabe which was later altered to criminal nuisance.
Source: ZimPF activist discharged on Mugabe insult – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 3, 2016
BY KENNETH NYANGANI
The ruling effectively frees Marabada.
Mukwengi said the State, led by Mathew Chimutunga, made “a glaring mistake” in charging Marabada (31), saying it could have amended the charge in its bid to pursue the case.
“I know the prosecution comprises learned people, but I don’t know how they made a glaring mistake in charging the accused person. Perhaps the prosecution could have amended the charge, therefore, your (Marabada) application for an exception to the charge has been granted as there is no case to answer,’’ he said.
During the hearing, Marabada’s lawyer, Simon Simango, said there was no basis to put his client on “a verbal surgery”.
“There is no basis at all to put the accused person to trial, on the simple reason that the allegations, as they appear on the charge sheet and the State outline, do not constitute a criminal offence,’’ he said.
“A normal person cannot be incensed by someone who is just distributing flyers, let alone a political commissar for Zanu PF for a ward in Sakubva. What makes the charge weak is that the rally was approved by the police and the distribution of flyers was granted and even the road shows to advertise the rally,’’ the lawyer said.
“The State outline is very clear. It is the same as charging a newspaper vendor who is selling a newspaper with an unpleasant headline to a Zanu PF or MDC-T supporter. Vendors will be doing their business, but nothing will stop the eyes from reading.”
The lawyer further said if, indeed, his client uttered the words: “Who is Mugabe? What is Zanu PF?”, there was no criminal offence, as it was a question.
According to the new charge, on July 14, Marabada and the complainant, who was not named in the State papers, boarded a commuter omnibus at Sakubva roundabout and the suspect started distributing ZimPF flyers for a rally that was held on July 16 in Mutare.
It was alleged the complainant was incensed by the move and confronted Marabada, asking him to desist from distributing the flyers, saying not all passengers were sympathetic to his cause.
In turn, it was alleged, Marabada denigrated the complainant and insulted him by denouncing the party he