7 June 2018

Zimbabwe: NPA Stops Persecution of Lumumba Over Mugabe Insult Case

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has withdrawn charges against opposition political party leader William Gerald Mutumanje Lumumba after conceding that prosecuting him on charges of undermining authority of or insulting former President Robert Mugabe is not in the "public interest".

Lumumba, the leader of Viva Zimbabwe political party, was arrested on 30 June 2016 and charged with undermining authority of or insulting the President in contravention of Section 33 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act (Chapter 9:23).

In court, prosecutors alleged that Lumumba insulted Mugabe after he accused him of mismanaging the country's political and economic affairs.

Last year, the NPA refused to withdraw the charges levelled against the opposition political party leader in the Harare Magistrates Court even though Edmore Nyazamba of the NPA had undertaken before the Constitutional Court to end the prosecution of the former ZANU PF party youth leader.

But the NPA, represented by Justin Uladi recently made a volte-face and withdrew charges against Lumumba and formalised the withdrawal before Harare Magistrate Victoria Masamba on 07 June 2018.

In a letter written to Lumumba's lawyer Tinomuda Shoko of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Uladi said the NPA was no longer interested in prosecuting the Viva Zimbabwe party leader because there is "no public interest in the matter".

Lumumba's lawyers had petitioned the Constitutional Court challenging the constitutionality of the charges filed against him arguing that the state was violating his right to freedom of expression provided in terms of section 61(1) (a) of the Constitution.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

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