Lumumba challenges placement on remand

HARARE - Viva Zimbabwe president and former Zanu PF youth leader Lumumba William Gerald Mutumanje, aka Acie Lumumba, yesterday challenged his placement on remand in a case he is accused of insulting President Robert Mugabe.

Lumumba is facing charges of undermining the authority and insulting the president as defined in Section 33 (2) (b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. He appeared before Harare magistrate Vakayi Chikwekwe.

His lawyer, Arshie Mugiya, argued that a letter authorising the prosecution of his client had not been authored by the prosecutor-general in compliance with procedures.

“We are challenging the authenticity of the letter which authorises prosecution of this matter on the basis that it was not authored by the prosecutor-general,” Mugiya said.

“This is a question of law because according to section 34 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, it is clear that the authority of the prosecutor-general must be sought for prosecution of an accused person charged for insulting the president.

“…a reading of the letter tendered as authority of prosecution clearly points out that it was authored by someone else and not the prosecutor-general, therefore the accused person cannot continue on remand.”

Prosecutor Oscar Madhume argued that the letter did not necessarily need to be signed by the prosecutor-general himself but could delegate anyone from his office.

“I am surprised by the nature of application placed before the court. That same section (34) cited by the defence provides that as long as it is the prosecutor-general’s office, the letter would be relevant,” said Madhume.

“The defence lawyer had an opportunity to object the production of the letter as an exhibit but kept quiet and his client placed on remand. That was enough to have the accused person placed on remand.”

However, Mugiya responded that he had notified the court of his intentions to question the authenticity of the letter on the initial court hearing.

“We did raise this issue, we cannot be barred from raising our objection because we did not specify our query,” he said.

“The State ought to know that where an act of Parliament is specific that only a certain individual acting in an authorised manner that authority cannot be delegated.”

Chikwekwe will make a ruling on the application on Monday.

According to State papers, charges against Lumumba arose on June 30 this year when he was launching his political outfit at a local hotel in Harare.

The court heard that Lumumba addressed the people that attended the launch. During his address, Lumumba referring to Mugabe reportedly said, “you have not been insulted, you are only insulted by protesters.

“…Mugabe f**k you, I am drawing the red line, our kids are in trouble, so it’s a red line…and my name is Lumumba, Lumumba, Lumumba…,” the court heard. I am a war veteran’s child…,” he reportedly said, adding that Mugabe’s children will be dealt with too.

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