Karenyi was last month arrested and charged with denigrating Robert Mugabe, when she allegedly branded the ageing ZANU PF leader ‘a gay who sleeps around with Jonathan Moyo.’ Police allege the MP uttered the words when she addressed a rally in her constituency in early December at Nhedziwa business centre.
The legislator, who is also the MDC’s Women’s Assembly organizing secretary, denies the charge. Her lawyer David Tandire told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that the trial could not go ahead because proceedings against the MP had not yet been sanctioned by the Attorney-General.
‘In terms of the law, the institution of proceedings against the accused (Karenyi) must be authorized by the AG. To our surprise the state produced a letter written by Michael Mugabe, a law officer in the AG’s office, saying he was authorized to institute proceedings.
‘We raised an objection as the state failed to comply with a provision in section 34 of the Criminal Codification Act, which stipulates that, that power cannot be delegated to anyone,’ explained Tandire.
The defence lawyer said they also pointed out to the magistrate that Karenyi’s case should be referred to the Supreme Court to determine if the section she was charged under is constitutional.
The MP was charged with contravening Section 33 the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly making an unlawful, intentional and abusive statement about Mugabe. The MDC-T and pro-democracy activists contend that this law is used by ZANU PF for persecuting and not prosecuting MDC officials and supporters.
‘The law criminalizing insulting the President is just as controversial as the one which allows prosecutors to over-rule a magistrate by invoking section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, to deny an accused person bail. In this instance the prosecution invoked that Act on 21 December which meant the MP spent Christmas in police cells, when it is known she does not pose a flight risk or a danger to witnesses,’ Tandire added.
He emphasized that they are taking the matter to the Supreme Court as they felt Section 33 violated Karenyi’s rights and freedom of expression.
‘Additionally we also want the Supreme Court to make a ruling on the fact that Karenyi’s liberty was violated when the state invoked section 121, which meant she spent seven days in police cells for no apparent reason,’ the defence lawyer said. – SW Radio Africa NewsPost published in: News