Kazembe Defends Growing Arrests Of Citizens Over Mnangagwa Insults

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By Alois Vinga

HOME Affairs Minister, Kazembe Kazembe has defended increasing arrests on citizens facing allegations of insulting President Emmerson Mnangagwa on social media platforms.

Kazembe was contacted for comment by Monday seeking clarification on whether there was a new directive to revive arrests on people on charges of insulting the President.

Kazembe said the government would rather allow the law to take its course for cases before the courts.

“I will not be able to comment on each individual case because I’m not aware of the actual facts surrounding each cases,” the minister said.

“I would like to believe each case is different from the other. Police are there to maintain law and order. If the insults amount to an offence from a legal viewpoint and the police are convinced that a crime may have been committed they will arrest in accordance with their mandate.

“But again it depends on each case. I won’t be able to comment comprehensively without the actual details of each case. Besides if these cases are before the courts we would rather allow the law to take its course,” he said.

Last month, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) confirmed the arrest of two Rushinga men on allegations of insulting Mnangagwa through posting and commenting on a video shared on a residents’ social media platform, WhatsApp.

Police also arrested a Chipinge councillor, Crispen Rambu on allegations he described Mnangagwa as a fool, compared to his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa. Rambu was taken to court and granted $500 bail.

Another citizen, Abraham Baison, 30, of Mount Hampden was arrested and dragged to court for insulting Mnangagwa by shouting expletives about the President.

According to the ZLHR, around 20 Zimbabweans have been arrested and brought to court for insulting Mnangagwa since 2018. At least four of the cases were recorded during the five-week national lockdown. The lockdown has since been extended by another two weeks.