Mawarire charged for cybercrime

HARARE - Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) spokesperson, Jealousy Mawarire, was yesterday charged for committing cybercrime after he engaged in a Twitter row with Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo.

Mawarire, who surrendered himself to the Law and Order department at Harare Central Police yesterday morning after they had summoned him, was charged under section 88(b) of the Post and Telecommunications (PTC) Act.

Mawarire’s lawyer, Dzimbabwe Chimbga, confirmed to the Daily News that Mawarire had been charged with cybercrime.

“He has since been released after signing a warned and cautioned statement,” Chimbga said.

“Moyo was the complainant,” he said, adding that the charges were emanating from tweets Mawarire exchanged with the minister.

Mawarire said the charge was “over a tweet I made in response to Moyo’s attacks on (Joice) Mujuru”.

This comes as Zimbabwe is in the process of crafting a Computer Crime and Cybercrime Act to regulate Internet usage.

The Computer Crime and Cybercrime Bill, has however, been criticised by some sections of the public as a tool that could be manipulated by government to control political activities on social media.

According to section 88 of the PTC Act, “Any person who (a) sends by telephone any message that is grossly offensive or is of an indecent, obscene or threatening character; or  (b) sends by telephone any message that he knows to be false for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to any other person; or (c) makes any telephone call or series or combination of telephone calls without reasonable cause for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level five or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both such fine and such imprisonment”.

Mawarire is known for dragging President Robert Mugabe to court to force him to pronounce the election date for the 2013 elections, at a time opposition parties were not prepared.

Recently, Moyo threatened “to deal politically” with European Union (EU) Ambassador to Zimbabwe Philippe Van Damme, accusing him of using Twitter to “play politics against Zanu PF”.

Van Damme has been very vocal on Zimbabwe’s political and economic situation.

The two exchanged rants on Twitter after one user had raised issues to do with the presidential insult law.

Comments (7)

also arrest @samanyika,@diibulanyika,@ishe nehurerako,@matsotsi

truth - 13 August 2016

Kkkkkkkk.Vana truth tibvirei apo.Me I will say it over&over that u&yr bosses u are evil.U think we are afraid,,we are not afraid.U must change yr name to (Chimboko)truth is for genuine people.The people who stand against the oppressors.The people who have good hearts.U &Jonathan Moto deserve to go to jail not us

Matsotsi - 13 August 2016

Mawarire thrown in stocks and facing prosecution for a tweet on twitter yet somehow Joice still remains free, never having spent even one night in jail fer having been accused of plotting to overthrow Mugabe, passing State secrets to one Eric Little of the US Embassy and huge scale corruption? Everyone has to realize that Mugabe has created opposition parties that his CIO controls - any real opposition member or protester is eliminated. Wake up Zimbabwe.

Mbewa - 13 August 2016

Typical Zanu pf apologists.You want everyone who thinks differently from you to be arrested!What about you.Are you not having divergent views on the same platform with the likes of @samanyika,@dibulanyika@matsotsi,etc and yet you want them to be arrested?A very clear case of a rotten,cotton picking mind.

Janana wa Bikaz - 13 August 2016

Typical Zanu pf apologists.You want everyone who thinks differently from you to be arrested!What about you.Are you not having divergent views on the same platform with the likes of @samanyika,@dibulanyika@matsotsi,etc and yet you want them to be arrested?A very clear case of a rotten,cotton picking mind.

Janana wa Bikaz - 13 August 2016

Test your own medicine. We are in these problems because of what this Mawarire did in 2013. Sellout Mawarire

Chokwadi - 13 August 2016

magabe and his zanu are using the same laws and tricks they fought against during smith regime. cha chinja chii ana baba naana amai zvaiitwa na smith zviye

oto - 17 August 2016

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