HARARE - Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba has blasted as “confused” the State case against a Bulawayo girl who allegedly sent President Robert Mugabe’s “nude” picture on WhatsApp.
Malaba was commenting on the case of Shantel Rusike, who stands accused of undermining the authority and insulting the president.
Rusike allegedly sent a picture via WhatsApp depicting a nude Mugabe.
Underneath the picture, it was captioned, “Robert Mugabe turning 87 years on 21 February 2011. Happy birthday (Matibili Operation).”
An informant advised security agents who went through the phone, leading to Rusike’s arrest.
The girl filed a Constitutional Court application, seeking to have the charges quashed.
“Your facts are confused. It makes no sense, it talks about the president turning 87 in 2011, when the message was sent in 2012,” Malaba said.
He queried where Rusike could have managed to get Mugabe’s “nude” picture.
“That is not a picture of the president in a nude state. It’s the head of the president on the body of a child,” Malaba said.
Prosecutor Innocent Muchini said the facts constituted an offence, adding that the message was broadcast publicly.
Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku also asked Muchini to justify how the girl’s WhatsApp communication with the informant qualified to be a public statement.
“Even if they did not agree, does it involve the public? What constitutes communication in a public place?” Chidyausiku asked.
Muchini insisted that the message had been broadcast publicly.
Lewis Uriri, who represented the girl, said the communication was not made public. He said this was a private communication, between the two parties.
Chidyausiku, heading a panel of nine judges, yesterday reserved ruling on the case, adding that the court would proceed to hear the merits of the matter after first ruling on the preliminary points.
He asked the parties to file further submissions within 10 days, if they wish to do so.