Back to Index
convicted for email content
September 19, 2007
In the first case of
its kind, a Harare magistrate has tried and convicted a man who
was found in possession of a printed email message containing information
that was said to denigrate President Robert Mugabe and Vice President
Tendai Murove was on
23 August 2007 charged and convicted on his own plea of guilt to
contravening section 26(1)(a) as read with section 33 of the colonial
Censorship and Entertainment Control Act after he was found in possession
of a six-page letter allegedly sent to him by a friend. Section
26 prohibits the possession of prohibited articles while section
33 states the determination of what is indecent or obscene or offensive
or harmful to public morals.
The message, which was
written in Shona, repeatedly makes reference to Mugabe and Mujuru,
while mocking repeatedly Mugabe for his economic policies and Zimbabwe's
record inflation, which now stands above 6 000 percent.
"There is no drop
of fuel in Zimbabwe. Neither is there a sign of beer. I pray that
Bush (George) and Blair (Tony) can come and rid us of this bespectacled
man," the email laments in apparent reference to Mugabe.
hails from a wealthy family. She only gets reminded of matters to
do with Zimbabwe's economic problems and inflation when Gono
(Gideon, central bank governor) presents his monetary policy statements.
"She has sizeable
round bottoms. From that you can tell she grew up sitting on a sofa
unlike those (bottoms) of (Vice President) Mai Mujuru which were
repeatedly scratched by thorny bushes and bullets during the liberation
Murove was convicted
and fined Z$1 million (US$33) or 7 days imprisonment.
Murove was initially
arrested for public drinking in Harare's Avenues area. The
police then discovered the document on him.
Faced with growing
criticism for its policies, the Zimbabwean government recently introduced
a plethora of laws which critics say are designed to both silence
and punish dissenting voices. One such law, the Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, has seen a number
of independent media journalists arrested for allegedly publishing
information the government deemed to be subversive.
recently enacted new legislation, the Interception
of Communications Act that empowers the authorities to open
emails, letters as well as to monitor telephonic conversations of
is outraged by the fact that Murove was charged and convicted for
something which he did not even author. Section 20 of the Zimbabwean
Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of expression which
includes the right to receive and to disseminate information. Murove
received the email and as MISA-Zimbabwe we believe he should not
have been punished for a constitutionally guaranteed right. We actually
believe that section 26 of the Censorship and Entertainment Control
Act is ultra vires the Constitution and should be challenged.
the MISA-Zimbabwe fact
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.