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Monitor - Issue 116
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
October 27, 2011
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man dodges State bite
that had been having a meal out of a case in which a Harare resident
was accused of insulting President Robert Mugabe have come out empty.
who came to be known as the "biscuit man" got into trouble
after allegedly telling a ZANU PF workmate that people like him
were only beginning to afford lunch because of Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai's entry into government.
Mpofu, 52, last
week walked out of court a free man after Magistrate Reward Kwenda
turned down an application for further remand by State prosecutors
seeking to postpone Mpofu's trial after State witnesses failed
to turn up in court, including the complainant in the matter.
The State was
charging Mpofu under Section 33 (1) (a) of the Criminal
Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 as read with
Section 33 (2) (a) of the same Act for allegedly undermining the
authority or insulting the President.
the State outline, Mpofu was at work in October last year when he
went to Gilbert Matarutse's office. Matarutse, a security
officer known to be a ZANU PF supporter, was having his lunch at
shouted to Gilbert through the window, saying that the biscuits
and the cascade he was having were brought by MDC-T through its
leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai," read the State outline.
further to say that President Mugabe had ruined the country and
that he was going to be dead by December 2010 then Morgan Tsvangirai
would take over as President of Zimbabwe," the State charged.
lawyer Jeremiah Bamu of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights had argued
that the charges should not stick because the law under which Mpofu
was being charged "is a negation of democratic principles."
just an alarming indication of a sad state of affairs where citizens
are not allowed to level any form of criticism against the President
as doing so will result in prosecution. The law is a negation of
democratic principles and an unnecessary gag on legitimate criticism,"
Bamu said then.
But it was the
non-appearance of State witnesses that did further damage to the
as well as the complainant Matarutse all failed to turn up in court
for the fourth time since August when the trial was scheduled to
The trial was
all along being postponed to allow the witnesses and the complainant
to appear in court. Magistrate Kwenda removed Mpofu from remand
and ordered the State to proceed by way of summons if they intend
to pursue the matter.
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