26 July 2014

Zimbabwe: MP in the Dock for Insulting Mugabe

AN opposition MP who is being accused of insulting President Robert Mugabe way back in 2005 was back in court last week.

Tongai Matutu, who is the MP for Masvingo Central, is being charged with flouting a section of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA).

Matutu, a former deputy minister in the inclusive government, pleaded not guilty when he appeared before Gweru provincial magistrate Phathekile Msipa last Wednesday.

He was remanded out of custody to this Tuesday when the trial continues.

The trial has been running for almost nine years due to a failure by the State to provide witnesses.

The prosecutor, Andrew Marimo, told the court that Matutu uttered words that were deemed insulting to the head of state when he addressed an MDC rally at Ferry Training Centre in Zaka on July 25, 2005.

Matutu is alleged to have said: "I've never seen a dog like Mugabe. Tsunami (Mugabe's clean-up exercise in urban areas) has killed people. ZANU PF is not giving MDC supporters some maize. We are too forgiving as a people to an extent that we are made to suffer."

Matutu's lawyer, Regionald Chidawanyika, said there was no evidence that his client was referring to President Mugabe since there were many Mugabes in the country.

He also said that his client was not found guilty then because the Act was repealed on June 24, 2004 (not sure about this date, pliz confirm) before the alleged crime was committed.

"It is not justified and there's no adequate evidence that my client referred to the head of state and government, President Robert Mugabe, because there are many Mugabes in this country," Chidawanyika said.

"My client is also not guilty because the act was repealed on 24 June 2004 before the offence was committed," Chidawanyika said.

Marimo for the State concurred with Chidawanyika that POSA was repealed some time ago as documented.

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