Zimbabwe: Bindura Councillor Acquitted Over Anti-Mnangagwa Slur

11 October 2019

A Bindura man on Wednesday 9 October 2019 pleaded not guilty to charges of disorderly conduct as his trial for allegedly stating that President Emmerson Mnangagwa is liable for causing the suffering that citizens are currently enduring and for authoring the country's economic crisis.

Brian Kembo, of Bindura in Mashonaland Central province, who is also a Councillor for Ward 3 appeared before Magistrate Maria Musika who presided over his trial.

During trial, prosecutors alleged that the 36 year-old Kembo, who is represented by Idirashe Chikomba of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) engaged in disorderly conduct when he allegedly stated that several people in Zimbabwe were stressed owing to President Mnangagwa's failure to fix the country's economic crisis after winning the 2018 presidential election.

The prosecutors claimed that Kembo boarded a commuter omnibus on 24 October 2018 in Bindura where during a conversation with another residents, blamed President Mnangagwa for failing to alleviate the current economic crisis, which has led to price hikes of basic commodities in the country.

Two witnesses have testified against Kembo, who returns to court on Thursday 24 October 2019, when Magistrate Musika is expected to hand down her ruling on his application for discharge at the close of the prosecution case.

Meanwhile, Bindura Magistrate Langton Ndokera on Tuesday 8 October 2019 set free Saymore Mashorokoto who had been on trial on charges of disorderly conduct for allegedly telling Tichaona Svinurai, a fellow resident that President Mnangagwa had dismally failed to revive the country's political and economic fortunes and that he should hand over power to opposition MDC Alliance party leader Nelson Chamisa.

During trial, prosecutors said the the 45 year-old Mashorokoto, who was charged with contravening section 41(b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, had acted in a disorderly conduct and had used threatening, abusive, or insulting words intending to provoke a breach of the peace or realising that there was a real risk or possibility that a breach of the peace may be provoked.

But Magistrate Ndokera acquitted Mashorokoto, who was represented by Tinomuda Shoko and Blessing Nyamaropa of ZLHR, after ruling that the evidence presented in court during trial by the State does not warrant a conviction.

Magistrate Ndokera ruled that there was no evidence presented in court to corroborate the testimony of the witness who testified in court against Kembo.

Magistrate Ndokera also stated that before bringing such cases as Kembo's to court, the complainant and ZRP should seriously consider the impact they pose to the country.

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