Mutodi's remand refusal application thrown out

HARARE - Businessman and musician Energy Mutodi’s application to be removed from remand on charges of insulting President Robert Mugabe was thrown out yesterday, with the court indicating the case was proceeding to trial.

Mutodi appeared before Harare magistrate Josephine Sande on charges of causing disaffection among members of the defence forces and undermining or insulting the president.

He was arrested by armed police officers following his Facebook post in which he warned Mugabe of dire consequences in the event he failed to handle the burning succession issue in his party.

Sande ruled that Mutodi’s application was misplaced ostensibly because there was reasonable suspicion that the businessman-cum-politician had committed the offences alleged.

“The accused person made an application challenging his placement on remand and moved for further remand refusal arguing that the facts as presented by the State did not disclose an offence.

“His argument was that he was exercising his freedom of expression as enshrined in the Constitution,” Sande ruled.

“However, the court would not want to turn a blind eye that the utterances made by the accused person can cause disaffection among members of defence forces. The court does not agree that he must not be placed on remand but instead be served with a trial date.”

Mutodi had filed the application on the basis that his arrest and prosecution over the allegations was ultra vires constitutionally-guaranteed rights.

“The article read as a whole does not disclose an offence and that his arrest violates his rights under Section 49 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe (right to personal liberty), on the basis that he was arrested on incorrect information; Section 50 in that he was not advised, on arrest, of the correct reasons for his arrest and the reasons were only furnished when he was warned and cautioned on different split charges; Section 56 (equality and non-discrimination), in that he is being charged for making a political commentary on an issue of public interest on which many other political commentators have commented and that he is the only one selected for arrest…,” Mutodi said.

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