Zim man sentenced as Mnangagwa fights to defend insult laws

via Zim man sentenced as Mnangagwa fights to defend insult laws | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell  November 21, 2013

A Zimbabwean man has become the latest victim of the country’s ‘insult’ laws after being found guilty of undermining the authority of Robert Mugabe, at the same time that Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa is fighting to protect the laws.

Tinashe Mupereki was sentenced to two months in jail or a US$100 fine by a magistrate in Marondera. He was charged under the Criminal Law Act after calling Mugabe “nothing but old rubbish,” while at a bar in August.

Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba last month rebuked state prosecutors for abusing the country’s insult laws, which have seen over 70 people facing legal action since 2010 for allegedly ‘undermining’ the authority of the President.

Malaba, while commenting on an ‘insult’ case before the ConCourt, admonished the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) “against prosecuting matters in which statements were uttered in drinking halls and other social places, as the pursuit of such frivolous matters only served to bring disrespect on the Office of the President.”

The case, brought by Bulawayo resident Tendai Danga, was struck off the court roll after the NPA withdrew the charges of ‘insulting the President’. Danga was arrested two years during an argument with a policeman in a bar, during which he was accused of referring to Robert Mugabe in an ‘insulting’ manner.

Justice Malaba on the same day also moved to challenge the constitutionality of other sections of the Criminal Law Act, including one used arrest to journalists on allegations of publishing ‘falsehoods’. He made the ruling in a case in which two journalists challenged the Act, under which they were prosecuted.

“A law cannot be used to restrict the exercise of freedom of expression under the guise of protecting public order when what is protected is not public order,” Malaba said.

The court also appealed to Mnangagwa to appear before it this week “to show cause why” sections of the Act should not be invalidated. Mnangagwa argued in his heads of argument on Wednesday that the ConCourt had “failed” to carefully take a correct approach by ‘confining itself’ to the particular cases before it.

“Statute must be analysed in the abstract so that they will be avoidance of danger of failure to consider the constitutionality of the same section in the light of any other possible allegations based on the same section having been laid against some other criminal aspect,” Mnangagwa has argued.

The matter was postponed indefinitely after lawyers requested time to go through Mnangagwa’s arguments before submitting their responses.

 

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 3
  • comment-avatar
    Allen 8 years ago

    Ironically the law is responsible for putting the insults on public record. Now Mugabe is known as an ” old donkey” in most bats.

  • comment-avatar
    Chara 8 years ago

    Mnangagwa thinks he is going to be the next President, remember the late Zvobgo he crafted this Executive Presidency which gave the President absolute power thinking that he is going to be the next President.

  • comment-avatar
    die groot wit aap 8 years ago

    Emmerson Mnangagwa Justice Minister (now there is a contradiction of terms) wants to send people to prison because some one got their feelings hurt over an insult, and yet the Gukurahundi is forgotten.