A male Midlands State University (MSU) student, Tuesday appeared before a Bulawayo Provincial Magistrate facing charges of insulting President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
This is after Victor Majoni (35) allegedly uploaded on his WhatsApp status a video status of a cartoon character with contents allegedly insulting the President.
Majoni appeared before magistrate Munjanja facing charges of insulting or undermining the authority of the President.
Appearing for the state, George Rufumoyo told the court that the state witness in the case is a Zanu PF secretary for administration in the youth league, Remigious Komboni.
Komboni, a farmer in Umguza area, told the court that Majoni posted the video on his status a few days after President Mnangagwa had announced that citizens should fast and pray for the nation.
“I was going through WhatsApp statuses on my phone one day and I saw the status on Majoni’s phone. I sent him a message to warn him that he was out of line, but he ignored my advice.
“I approached the councillor and the Member of Parliament before I proceeded to the police.
“He later told me that his nephew is the one who had uploaded the status,” Kombani told the court.
Majoni’s lawyer, Nqobani Sithole disputed Kombani’s evidence, insisting there was bad blood between his client and the informant because of their different political affiliations.
Sithole said Komboni threatened Majoni on several occasions with unspecified action.
He argued the allegations were malicious as the insults are said to have been chanted by the cartoon character and yet still there was no evidence showing that he had created the particular cartoon character.
The lawyer accused Kombani of abusing his Zanu PF party position to “fix” his client.
Said the lawyer, “The Constitution provides for freedom of expression. Whoever designed the post is the one responsible for that content.
“According to my client, on several occasions, you uttered tribal slurs to him. You have threatened him with unspecified action.”
Sithole implored the court to drop the charges due to lack of evidence.
The state opposed Sithole‘s submission insisting that sufficient evidence had been provided.
The magistrate ordered Sithole to submit in writing an application for discharge at the close of the State case by October 19 and that the State responds by October 22.
Mjanja said his ruling will be delivered on November 9 after Majoni finishes writing his examinations.
Since Mnangagwa’s administration came into power, several people including political activists have been arrested on similar charges.