Back to Index
challenge Mugabe insult charges in Supreme Court
Mutimba, The Standard (Zimbabwe)
April 01, 2007
A teacher who wished President Robert Mugabe dead and another who
likened his rule to that of Nazi dictator, Adolf Hitler, have filed
a constitutional challenge in the Supreme Court against a section
of the Criminal
Codification Act that makes it an offence to insult the head
of the State.
(36), and Letwin Matereke (34), both employed by the Ministry of
Education, Sport and Culture at Victoria and Mucheke high schools
respectively, were last week remanded to 21 June pending the finalisation
of their constitutional challenge. They briefly appeared before
a Masvingo magistrate.
lawyer, Wellington Muzenda of Mwonzora and Associates, is challenging
a section of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act.
Muzenda is arguing
that the section infringes on the right of freedom of expression,
thereby contravening section 20 of the Constitution
In his papers,
Muzenda argues that the Act contravenes several sections of the
Zimbabwean Constitution and has petitioned the Supreme Court, sitting
as a constitutional court, to determine whether or not the Criminal
Codification and Reform Act chapter 9:23 contravenes section 89
of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
in addition, that section 33(2) (A) (ii) of the same act contravenes
section 20 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe in that it derogates
the right to freedom of expression.
the court to rule whether or not derogation is reasonably justified
in a democratic society.
The two teachers
were arrested on the same day, but in separate incidents, last December
for insulting or undermining the authority of the president after
making public statements regarding the head of State.
Jengeta arose on 17 December last year while he was drinking beer
in a police pub at Phoneix police camp. The State alleges that Jengeta,
who was watching television, wished Mugabe dead when he appeared
on ZTV's Newshour, saying his rule was responsible for the
suffering of the people.
uyu afa, zvinhu zvaiita nani hurumende yachinja kana kukatonga mumwe
munhu," (If this person died things would be better in this
country; the government would change for the better if someone else
began to rule) Jengeta allegedly said pointing at Mugabe's
image on the screen.
He was immediately
arrested by a police officer who was watching television with him.
Matereke arose on the same day when she was travelling in a commuter
bus along Masvingo-Mutare road. Matereke allegedly joined a debate
in the kombi when passengers were discussing the incidence of diamonds
being smuggled from Marange to South Africa.
said: "Regai vanhu vaende nawo ikoko nekuti munyika muno tiri
kutongwa naHitler (let the people smuggle the diamonds to other
counties as we are being ruled by Hitler in this country),"
she allegedly said.
arrested by a soldier based at 4:1 Brigade who later force-marched
her to Masvingo Central police station when they arrived in the
Cases of people
facing charges of this nature have been on the increase in Masvingo,
but have also occurred in other parts of the country.
Two weeks ago
two Chivi men were acquitted after the court found insufficient
evidence that they had insulted Mugabe after singing a song that
implied the President was sterile.
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.