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insult: Zimbabwe court acquits worker charged for slander
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
court has acquitted a 36 year-old man who had been on trial on charges
of undermining authority of or insulting President Robert Mugabe.
an employee of the state-run National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ)
had been on trial since last week after he was arrested in September
and charged with contravening Section 33 of the Criminal
Law (Codification and Reform) Act, a law which has been routinely
used to nail dozens of political and human rights activists as well
as ordinary Zimbabweans.
who is employed as a passenger clerk at NRZ is alleged to have insulted
President Mugabe by uttering unprintable insults referring to the
octogenarian leader and his family.
Magistrate Chiwundura on Monday 14 October 2013 acquitted Manditsera,
who was represented by Peggy Mapfumo of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights after ruling that there were several inconsistences between
the two State witnesses who testified during the trial.
In his defence,
Manditsera, who denied uttering the offensive words charged that
Murenje was out to fix him by bringing up the insult charges as
there was a long standing acrimony between the two NRZ employees.
The NRZ employee also argued that he objected to being supervised
by his superior while at a bottle store.
stated that it was glaring that witness statements were only recorded
from Manditsera’s supervisor, Ronzerai Murenje and his unidentified
relative and not from the other revelers who were present at Njanji
bottle store where the offence is alleged to have been committed.
The Magistrate said what was before the court was Manditsera’s
word against that of the state witnesses and as such the court was
left wondering who to believe. The Magistrate said owing to discrepancies
between the testimony of the two state witnesses, Manditsera’s
defence became probably true and as such the court acting carefully
could not convict the NRZ passenger clerk.
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