An MDC Alliance politician has been charged for insulting and undermining Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s efforts to fight Covid-19 by comparing him to his SA counterpart, President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Chrispen Rambu, a councillor for Ward 8 in Chipinge, was summoned by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to a police station where he was charged with insulting and undermining the authority of Mnangagwa as defined in section 33 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
The state accused him of denigrating Mnangagwa by allegedly forwarding a WhatsApp message reading: “Ramaphosa just announced R500bn SA stimulus package. Seeing him addressing and comparing him with ED [Mnangagwa] you won’t doubt that we are having a fool for a head of state”.
Rambu is represented by Mekias Gwamanda of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. He is expected to appear at Chipinge magistrate’s court on Saturday. If convicted, he could be sentenced to a year in prison.
Mnangagwa extended Zimbabwe’s national lockdown on Sunday by two weeks, ending on May 3.
Rambu is the second person to fall foul of the law in relation to Covid-19 after Lovemore Zvokusekwa, 36, from Chitungwiza, appeared before a Harare magistrate facing charges of “publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the state”, as defined by the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. He is out on bail.