30 May 2018

Zimbabwe: Fresh Clampdown on Dissent as Zim Authorities Charge Man for Undermining Mnangagwa

Photo: ZHLR/Twitter
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights tweet.

Zimbabwean authorities have charged a 36 year-old man for allegedly undermining President Emmerson Mnangagwa through posting some political comments on social media.

The Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS) recently summoned John Mahlabera, who is employed as a prison officer at Chiredzi Prison in Masvingo province, to appear before a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday 12 June 2018 after charging him with contravening section 3(1) of the Prison (Sfaff) (Discipline) Regulations1984.

According to ZPCS, Mahlabera allegedly posted a message on micro blogging site Twitter, which reads; "Come to Chiredzi my president".

The ZPCS said Mahlabera posted this message after an MDC-T party rally that was held at Jerera Growth Point in Zaka in Masvingo province, which was addressed by opposition party leader Nelson Chamisa.

ZPCS said by posting such a message on Twitter, Mahlabera showed loyalty to Chamisa and disloyalty to President Mnangagwa.

The ZPCS charged that Mahlabera's conduct was disgraceful to Mnangagwa and the prison officer had no right whatsoever to act in the manner he did.

Four witnesses will testify against Mahlabera during the disciplinary hearing to be conducted next month in Masvingo, where the prison officer will be represented by Collen Maboke and Blessing Nyamaropa of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

ZLHR's records compiled since 2010 show that the organisation has attended to close to 200 cases where people have been arrested and charged for allegedly "insulting or undermining the authority of the President".

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