A Mutare magistrate has acquitted a 36 year-old man who had been on trial for allegedly undermining authority of or insulting President Robert Mugabe.
National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) employee, Nicholas Manditsera had been on trial since last week after he was arrested in September and charged with contravening a law which has been routinely used to nail dozens of political and human rights activists as well as ordinary Zimbabweans.
According to Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Manditsera, a passenger clerk at NRZ is alleged to have insulted President Mugabe by uttering unprintable insults referring to the octogenarian leader and his family.
However, Mutare Magistrate Chiwundura on Monday acquitted Manditsera after ruling that there were several inconsistences between the two State witnesses who testified during the trial.
In his defence, Manditsera, who denied uttering the offensive words charged that Murenje was out to fix him by bringing up the insult charges as there was a long standing acrimony between the two NRZ employees. The NRZ employee also argued that he objected to being supervised by his superior while at a bottle store.
Chiwundura stated that it was glaring that witness statements were only recorded from Manditsera's supervisor, Ronzerai Murenje, and his unidentified relative and not from the other revellers who were present at Njanji bottle store where the offence is alleged to have been committed.
The Magistrate said what was before the court was Manditsera's word against that of the state witnesses and as such the court was left wondering who to believe.
Due to discrepancies between the testimonies of the two state witnesses, the magistrate added, Manditsera's defence became probably true and as such the court acting carefully could not convict the NRZ passenger clerk.