Man acquitted of insulting Mugabe

HARARE - A Zimbabwean court has acquitted a 36-year-old man who had been on trial on charges of undermining the authority of or insulting President Robert Mugabe.

Nicholas Manditsera, an employee of the State-run National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) had been on trial since last week after he was arrested in September and charged with contravening Section 33 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, a law which has been routinely used to nail dozens of political and human rights activists as well as ordinary Zimbabweans.

The 36-year-old, who is employed as a passenger clerk at NRZ is alleged to have insulted Mugabe by uttering unprintable insults referring to the octogenarian leader and his family.

However, Mutare magistrate — one Chiwundura — on Monday  acquitted Manditsera, who was represented by Peggy Mapfumo of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights 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.

Magistrate 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.

The magistrate said owing to discrepancies between the testimony of the two State witnesses, Manditsera’s defence became probably true and as such the court, acting carefully, could not convict the NRZ passenger clerk.

Comments (10)

Sando dzako Manditsera, vanhu vave kuita settle ma scores na Bob, kutsvagira mumwe munhu mhosva, I mean kana akatuka Mugabe, zvinei naMurenje ndiye atukwa here kuto miramira muCourt uchisungisa mumwe, ugowanei? Sando kuna Magistrate futhi!!

Fogmaster - 16 October 2013

Obama, Zuma and other world leaders are insulted day & day out but the culprits are never taken to court. There is something wrong with our justice system, its like an appendage of discpline commission belonging to Zhanu. This is pathetic!

Mudhiniwe - 16 October 2013

Yimwe mitemo yakadai inoda kubviswa zvokwadi munhu akaita sei asingatukwe ngaatibvire taneta nohutungamiriri hweZANU

MukarangawekuMberengwa - 16 October 2013

The Name Robert Mugabe has become an albatross around our necks. If you disagree with somebody he can just report you and say you have insulted the President. Since he has been discharged the 2 must be arrested for abusing the police. Surely we should have that law which say if you bear false witness you must be arrested and a sentence set for such offences. VaMugabe can you stop this madness, your name is being abused.

Maita Manyuka - 16 October 2013

Why not just ask the police to arrest anybody who reports such ludicrous charges.

Maita Manyuka - 16 October 2013

Vendattas at work!! But , I think Bob is just one other human being who is open to either praise or insult. This is common of all humans,including the British and the Americans whom he shame - shame- shames on.

James - 16 October 2013

The state has gone beserk in targeting utterances from drunkards at beer halls and shabeens with another recent case being the Highfields shabeen arrest. Obviously if a person gets intoxicated the next thing they do is to speak out their most sincere mind and i bet 99% will mock the overstayed octagenarian

Hooveman - 16 October 2013

Hooveman - You do not get drunk to have an excuse to commit an of fence. Also the law can not let you go because you were drunk. Madhiniwe - Do not put pen to paper you not widely informed. What is the crime that Malema committed against Zuma.

dungas - 17 October 2013

drunkness is a diffence in our law, however the budden of proof rests on the accused and not the state.

roms - 17 October 2013

There is a backlog of 10 month plus pay for all NRZ employees. Even the pay that comes is reduced. You guys have the time to report and have your case taken to court. It's shameful that a supervisor should concern himself with such a stupid case. Imagine if it was your mother who had been insulted; would you have gone to report to police and have your workmate arrested. Now how are you going to continue supervising the subordinate who has been acquitted? Shame, shame on you Ronzerai Murenje you have lost my respect buddie.

tomasi tohwi - 17 October 2013

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