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Monitor - Issue 117
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
October 31, 2011
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picture worth $300
A ZANU PF official
has put the value of a banner beaming with President Robert Mugabe's
picture at $300.
And now, five
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters are facing criminal
charges for allegedly trashing and burning the banner belonging
to ZANU PF Marondera district political commissar Stewart Matereke.
The MDC supporters
are charged with malicious damage to property under Section 140
of the Criminal
Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.
a security guard with Marondera Municipality as well as the unemployed
duo of Shown Chinai and Brian Phiri were arrested on 19 October
while Caleb Marange and Omega Mutsaru were arrested on 26 and 27
October respectively. The five, who are represented by Fred Machokoto
of Mambosasa Legal Practitioners who is a member of Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights are currently on bail. They will stand trial on
the State outline, Matereke was drinking beer with friends at Dombotombo
Business Centre in Marondera on 16 October while proudly displaying
a banner on the bar wall bearing President Mugabe's face and
inscribed: "Our land is our sovereignty" when the MDC
supporters allegedly pounced.
The MDC supporters
allegedly arrived at the business centre in a convoy of five cars
and allegedly pulled down the banner and set it on fire. The five
Marondera residents waited until the banner was burnt to ashes,
according to the State outline.
is valued at US$300 and the remaining chuffs can be produced as
exhibit," reads the State outline.
say the MDC supporters had "no right to act in the manner
Scores of people
have in the past got into trouble for allegedly tempering with Mugabe's
posters or making fun of the President.
Two Honde Valley
villagers are facing charges of contravening Section 152 of the
after they allegedly destroyed a Mugabe political campaign poster
Last year, the
late Chipinge Magistrate Samuel Zuze sentenced Gift Mafuka to a
year in jail with hard labour for allegedly insulting Mugabe. Mafuka
was found guilty of contravening Section 33 of the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act, Chapter 9:23 after allegedly quizzing
two young boys for wearing T-shirts emblazoned with Mugabe's
and the Honde Valley villagers, several MPs have since January this
year been brought before the courts for allegedly insulting and
undermining the authority of Mugabe. In May, police charged MDC
deputy chairperson and non-constituency Senator Morgan Komichi with
undermining the authority of or insulting President Mugabe after
he allegedly sung lyrics likening First Lady Grace Mugabe to a dead
has since successfully applied for his removal from remand.
Epworth MP Hon.
Eliah Jembere, is also under prosecution for allegedly insulting
the octogenarian leader.
In April Mutare
police charged Constitution Select Committee (COPAC) co-chairperson
and Nyanga North MP Hon. Douglas Mwonzora with undermining the authority
of or insulting Mugabe for allegedly enquiring about the health
status of the ZANU PF leader.
The police charged
the Nyanga North MP with contravening Section 33 (2) (a) (ii) of
the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly mocking
President Mugabe by posing questions on a portrait of the 87 year
old leader, which was positioned in Nyanga Magistrates Court, when
he appeared in court in March on charges of inciting public violence
together with 23 Nyanga villagers. The police alleged that Hon.
Mwonzora uttered the words "Makadii baba? Iri sei mwiri? Riri
sei ziso?" The police translated this to mean "How are
you father? How is your health? How is your eye?"
In January 2010,
Hon. Mwonzora was summoned to stand trial on allegations of likening
President Mugabe to a goblin at a rally at Ruwangwe Growth Point
in Nyanga North constituency in March 2009.
The police alleged
that Hon. Mwonzora uttered the following words: "Ndaona Mugabe
achigeza, tauro muchiuno, sipo muhapwa uye ndebvu hwapepe. Pamberi
neMDC, pasi nechihurumende chembavha chinosunga vanhu vasina mhosva
chichitora zvinhu zvavo. Police took this to literally mean; President
Mugabe is a goblin and will run I saw Mugabe bathing, towel on his
waist, soap under his armpits and big beard forward with MDC down
with bad government of thieves which arrest innocent people and
taking away their property (sic)."
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