By Staff Reporter
A HARARE police officer was taken to Zanu PF headquarters for interrogation when he was arrested last week for calling President Emmerson Mnangagwa a “used condom”.
Shungudzemoyo Kache was later taken to the Harare Magistrates’ Court facing charges of insulting and undermining Mnangagwa.
According to the State, Kache allegedly told one Stanley Mabhachi who was wearing a scarf with the Zimbabwean flag colours that Mnangagwa is a “used condom”.
His lawyer, Jeremiah Bamu from the Zimbabwe Lawyer for Human Rights (ZLHR) told the court that on his arrest, Kache was driven to Zanu PF headquarters for interrogation before he was charged and brought to court.
Kache was granted $300 bail and returns to court on 22 June.
Arrests on individuals accused of insulting the President have continued in Zimbabwe even after the courts have freed them for exercising their freedoms of speech.
An MDC councillor appeared in court April this year for criticising Mnangagwa’s response to the coronavirus epidemic.
Chrispen Rambu, the councillor for Ward 8 in Chipinge, was accused of forwarding a WhatsApp message which read: “(Cyril) Ramaphosa just announced a R500 billion stimulus package in South Africa. Seeing him addressing and comparing him with ED [Mnangagwa] you won’t doubt that we are having a fool for a head of state.”
He was charged under section 33 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act which prohibits “making any statement about or concerning the President or an acting President with the knowledge or realising that there is a real risk or possibility that the statement is false and that it may engender feelings of hostility towards; or cause hatred, contempt or ridicule of the President or an acting President, whether in person or in respect of the President’s office.”
The crime of “undermining the authority of or insulting the President” can land one in jail for a year.
In 2015, Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court on Wednesday quashed insult cases brought by the state against several citizens including that of MDC top politician Douglas Mwonzora who had allegedly insulted then President Robert Mugabe by calling him a “goblin”.