ZEC boss heckler freed; lawyer says he exercised his right to free speech

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Court Reporter

A CONTROVERSIAL presidential candidate who made headlines on Tuesday after he tried to stop Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairperson from addressing political party leaders during a peace pledge signing ceremony has been freed.

Francis Danha, #1980 Free Zimbabwe Movement leader, was discharged at National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head office before his case could be heard in court.

He was picked up by law and order police on Tuesday and was charged with disorderly conduct.

The police said he intentionally acted in a disorderly and riotous manner.

But in warned and cautioned statement Danha said there was nothing criminal about his conduct.

“My client exercised his right to freedom of expression. He is guaranteed to express his political feelings in a political meeting. It is not in dispute that he is a political party leader and was invited to attend the meeting,” said his attorney Itai Ndudzo.

According to Ndudzo, NPA said it needed time to interrogate the accused’s defence before his case was sent back to the station.

NPA ruled the case will continue by way of summons.

Danha caused chaos at the peace pledge signing ceremony held at a top hotel in Harare on Tuesday.

When ZEC chairperson, Priscilla Chigumba, was given an opportunity to address the gathering, Danha protested by shouting demanding to speak first.

Danha also demanded that Chigumba should not speak since it was a meeting for political party leaders.

He said political parties had issues with ZEC with regards to the voters roll among other things and, as such, it was a mockery to allow Chigumba to speak before the candidates.

Danha had to be dragged out of the auditorium to allow the meeting to go ahead after efforts to calm him flopped.