ConCourt postpones judgement in former MP’s Mugabe insult case

Chief Justice, Godfrey Chidyausiku, today said that an application by the State in the matter in which former MDC-T Makoni South Member of Parliament, Pishai Muchauraya, is facing charges of insulting President Robert Mugabe was invalid as it was inconsistent with the new constitution.

It is the State’s case that Muchauraya undermined and insulted Mugabe’s authority in 2006 after he alleged that the Zanu (PF) leader was too old and was suffering from chronic diarrhoea.

This, the State alleges, caused hatred, contempt or ridicule of Mugabe.

Chris Mutangadura, who appeared for the State agreed that there was an “extravagant” inclusion of words on the State outline to such an extent that there “are other words that are criminal while others are not criminal”.

“The facts do not support the charges against the accused person although they constitute an offence of insulting the President,” said Mutangadura.

Judgement in the case was indefinitely postponed.

Said Chidyausiku: “The facts alleged in this matter do not constitute an offence. They are inconsistent with the present constitution and we wish to give our order in a written form.”

Meanwhile, judgement in a case in which Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa, is challenging the Constitutional Court’s ruling that section 31 (a) (iii) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, which criminalised “publishing or communicating statements prejudicial to the State”, was in violation of people’s rights to freedom of expression has been indefinitely postponed as well.

The Constitutional Court made the ruling last year and called for the repulsion of the law as it contravened section 20 (1) of the Constitution.

The ruling came after Alpha Media Holdings group editor-in-chief Vincent Kahiya and NewsDay editor Constantine Chimakure challenged the constitutionality of a section of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act which criminalised “publishing or communicating statements prejudicial to the State”.

Today, the Court maintained the previous judgement saying Mnangagwa, who was represented by Chris Mutangadura, had failed to substantiate his claims.

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