President’s reputation must be protected – Mnangagwa

via President’s reputation must be protected | The Herald November 20, 2013 by Daniel Nemukuyu

LAWS criminalising the undermining of the authority of the President and communicating of falsehoods must not be revoked since they protect the reputation of the President and his office, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.

Minister Mnangagwa was responding in heads of arguments he filed yesterday contesting the Constitutional Court’s observation that sections of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act that criminalised the undermining of the authority of the President and communicating falsehoods were in violation of the Constitution.

The Constitutional Court last month observed that Section 31 (a) (iii) which criminalises publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the State and Section 33 (a) (ii) which criminalises undermining the authority of the President had the effect of breaching people’s rights and invited Minister Mnangagwa to justify their existence by today if he so wished.

Minister Mnangagwa argued that it was necessary to protect the reputation of the President.

“Is the goal of the protection of reputation of the President and his office a pressing and substantial objective in our society? We submit it is,” he said.

“The protection of the President’s reputation from wilful and false attack recognises both the innate dignity of the individual and the integral link between reputation and the fruitful participation of an individual in society.

“Preventing damage to reputation as a result of criminal insult and defamation is a legitimate goal of the criminal law.”

The ruling by the Constitutional Court followed an appeal by Zimbabwe Independent journalists Constantine Chimakure and Vincent Kahiya on one hand and artist Owen Maseko on the other, all of whom had been charged under the Criminal Code.

Chimakure and Kahiya were charged under Section 31 for allegedly publishing or communicating a false statement prejudicial to the State, while Maseko was charged under Section 33 for allegedly undermining the authority of the President through his paintings.

The two journalists were charged after they published a story titled “Activists’ abductors named,” where in the story senior police officials were identified as having abducted MDC-T activists and Zimbabwe Peace Project director Jestina Mukoko in 2009.

Maseko was arrested for making paintings reminiscent of the dissident menace that afflicted the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces soon after independence.

Minister Mnangagwa argued that the court erred in ruling in favour of the journalists and the artist. He argued that the court failed to properly assess the proportionality of Section 31 of the Code, which criminalised publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the State.

“This honourable court failed to adopt a proper approach in trying to assess the proportionality of Section 31 of the Code to Section 20(1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, thereby wrongly making a finding that the impugned provision is overboard,” said Minister Mnangagwa.

“While the court was attempting to satisfy the test known in deciding whether or not a law is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society, the study of essential elements of the offences with a view to assess its breadth led the court to omit the first fundamental criteria before adopting the proportionality test.”

Minister Mnangagwa filed the heads of arguments through the Prosecutor General’s Office.



  • comment-avatar
    Chivulamapoti 11 years ago

    Mugarbage has no reputation to protect, so why bother debating it, Mnangagwa, you ass-hole!

  • comment-avatar
    zim chando 11 years ago

    What a fool, murderer, zimuroyi

  • comment-avatar
    Mugarbage 11 years ago

    too late for that mr emmerson mukakasmokingdagga….. the president has shown his true colours for years now. we all know he is a fake, corrupt, hypocritical gangsta who falls asleep every two minutes cos he is as old as the hills. Its time for him to be buried in the hills.

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    Peter tosh 11 years ago

    Who are you under the sun you Emerson? U evil gangster your time is up no matter what you say.

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    Rudadiso 11 years ago

    Respect is earned. Mugabe can only protect his reputation through deeds. You can’t force people to respect a murderous, corrupt, dictatorial and mean spirited thief who brought only poverty and suffering to his people.

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    I agree with Mnangagwa. Mugabe, like Hitler, has a reputation as a genocidal mass murderer and destroyer of Zimbabwe’s economy and people’s lives. This reputation must be protected and never white washed by the Herald or SADC or the AU. Our children’s children’s children must never forget this man’s filthy greedy destruction of our beloved homeland as he struts around with ngochani tendancies

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    munzwa 11 years ago

    you right Nzou, the Herald should be taken to court for publishing falsehoods!!!

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    James Kwavanhu 11 years ago

    I need a new meaning of reputation. Or ZANU PF’s meaning.

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    Haruna 11 years ago

    Imbwa yemunhu

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    I am dealing with emotional rectionary blokes here. The issue here is should we allow a journo to publish falsehoods. Is it not prudent for the journo to establish tangible facts before publishing. The broader issue is not Mugabe the person but the Office of the President. Say your choice for President one day takes that office and inherits the same constitution, you the reactionary blokes will cry foul for the journo will also publish falsehoods but this time about your favourite. Anywhere if we allow the not so learned journos to preach falsehoods on the apex office then the general citizens are at their mercy. Facts Guys you dafts.

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    rise above hate 11 years ago

    Respect is earned. Also can the crocodile balance the two sides of presidency reputation and freedom of expression in a so called democratic zimbabwe. After all the people voted the so called president in office; why then is it an issue with the crocodile that people express their views. Democracy is never democracy if the peoplels’ views are suppressed. I want to see what the court will say.

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    Mike Nyathi 11 years ago

    You can make whatever laws you want but you can’t legislate the truth out of existence. We all know ‘Cde’ RGM is a swine and we will celebrate when he and Zanu die. The fools think they will live forever, but they will be blown away in the wind soon enough and the verdict of history will be harsh. Scumbags who used the cloak of liberation to oppress their own people.

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    Chitova weGona 11 years ago

    Guys Mnangarwa is eyeing that post yapresident so he knows in the event he ascends to the thrown he will use it crush those who dare scrutinise him! Mugabe is not sacred. How come he makes fun of other people? Lindiwe Zulu is one example. Mnangarwa go hang.

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    Mthwakazi 11 years ago

    Protecting a reputation of tribalism; racism; street thuggism; dictatorship; insults and labelling against opponents; murambatswina and gukurawundi massacres?

    Is this what you mean?

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    Bambanani Sizwesakithi 11 years ago

    Even if a president deserves protection, Mugabe doesn’t. Unless if his soul is better than my uncle and many others who were defenselessly murdered in cold blood bu Mugabe’s notorious Gukurahundi in 1984.

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    Moses 11 years ago

    respect has to be earned. A President is merely an elected representative of his constituents who have the right to question the quality of their representation. Nobody is above criticism. Nobody is right all the time , and nobody is wrong all the time either

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    Boss MyAss 11 years ago


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    Reputation is something one gains over a long period of time. If the concerned person is good he gains a good reputation if not the oppossite. So I don’t see what this Mnangwa whatever guy is bubbling about. Things are not always garnered by the fist!

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    Respect is earned through good deeds not by law. You cannot force me to respect you. Money is wasted in enforcing that law which could go towards cleaning our cities.

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    Rocks tone 11 years ago

    Shame ,mnagwa

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    Newton Vudzijena 11 years ago

    Go hang mnangagwa. Is there any law there in Zim. Stop that nonsense u cruel, ruthless murderer. Idiotic mnangagwa, stupid dog. Go hang.

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    Chirau 11 years ago

    Why????? The truth should be told. Zimbabwe should be allowed to know about this man and what he has done to the Zimbabwean people.

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    Reputation???? Screws his secretary whilst his wife is dying, screws the country whilst millions suffer and die, is in bed with the Chinese my GOD this prostitute’s reputation has to be protected. Go for it. There’s is no limits to stupid.