10 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Man Jailed for Insulting Mugabe

Bulawayo — A Gwanda man was last week sentenced to six months in prison for making "nasty comments" about President Robert Mugabe's private parts.

Gwanda magistrate, Sheila Nazombe on Friday convicted Clemence Zikhali, an artisan at Collen Bawn Cement factory, for making derogatory remarks about Mugabe's private parts.

It was the State's case that Zikhali was drinking beer at a bar in Gwanda and had a quarrel with a Zanu PF supporter before he made the insulting comments.

The unnamed Zanu PF supporter reported the matter to the police, leading to Zikhali's arrest.

Zikhali was represented by Norman Mangena of Coghlan and Welsh law firm.

It is an offence under Zimbabwe's laws to undermine or insult Mugabe, who has ruled the country since it gained independence from Britain almost 32 years ago.

Several Zimbabweans have been arrested or jailed over the past few years for insulting Mugabe.

In 2011 a Chipinge man, Gift Mafuka, was jailed for 12 months for insulting Mugabe. Later that year, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, Jameson Timba was also arrested for calling Mugabe "a liar".

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has expressed concern at the rate at which state security agencies were arresting citizens on charges of insulting the 88-year-old leader.

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